Couche-Tard sets its sights on Australia

By Knackles

Alimentation Couche-Tard confirmed that it has raised its proposed bid to acquire Australian petroleum brand Caltex to AU$35.35 per share.

This marks the third offer made by the Laval, Quebec-based convenience store company, which had previously been turned down by Caltex in October 2019 ($32 per share) and November 2019 ($34.50) as undervaluing the company. 

So far, Couche-Tard has managed to successfully expand its presence to the US and Europe, and now has its sights set firmly on the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. With a network of almost 10,000 stores across North America and employing 109,000, the company is a leader in the Canadian industry.

Strategic future growth

Brian Hannasch, President and CEO, commented that he believed the offer to be a fair assessment of Caltex’s value and hoped that its shareholders would engage with the offer.

“We believe this Further Revised Proposal takes into consideration the information provided throughout our engagement to date and represents a compelling premium for Caltex shareholders, as well as immediate certainty of value,” he said.

“We have long viewed the Asia-Pacific region as strategic to Couche-Tard’s future growth, and we look forward to our continued engagement with the Caltex Board in progressing this Further Revised Proposal.”

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“We remain a committed buyer of the entire Caltex business, where we see a potential opportunity to leverage our deep operating expertise and global insights to support and grow the Caltex business.” 

A part of Australian society

Couche-Tard may have a difficult negotiation with Caltex, which is currently in the process of reinventing itself.

Proudly discussing its contributions to community programmes around the country - including $3.1mn to a range of causes, such as volunteer firefighters, drought-affected families and Indigenous youth - Caltex is actively reconnecting with its Australian roots.

Until as recently as 2015, the company’s ownership was split 50/50 between Chevron and assorted Australian shareholders. However, in 2019, Chevron sold its shares to the tune of $9.24bn. This change in ownership has prompted Caltex Australia to pursue a rebrand to ‘Ampol’, a previously beloved native fuel brand.

“Our market research confirmed that Ampol continues to be regarded as a trusted brand by Australian consumers – even those who weren’t born when the brand was retired,” explained Julian Segal, MD and CEO of Caltex. 

“Our decision to bring Ampol back reflects the focus we still have today on our heritage of friendly and efficient service, high-quality Australian-made products and being part of the local community.”

For more information on business topics in Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief Canada.

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