Couche-Tard may take strict line on Caltex takeover

As per AFR, the reputation of Alimentation Couche-Tard as a disciplined investor suggests the acquisitive Canadian convenience retailer will think long and hard whether it will sweeten its $8.6 billion offer for Australian target Caltex.

While Caltex on Tuesday pushed the door half-open for its suitor, Couche-Tard – French for “night owl” – is still considering whether its offer of access to “selected non-public information” will allow it to take the matter further, far less raise its tentative $34.50 a share offer as suggested by the Sydney-based player.

Still, the fast-growing owner of the Circle K brand, which is well known in parts of Asia and North America, has made its appetite clear for Caltex, with chief executive Brian Hannasch describing it as a “potential springboard” to expand in the massive Asia-Pacific market.

It has shown it is serious by building a 2 per cent stake in Caltex in recent months, worth about $172 million at the current share price.

While an unknown name in Australia, Couche-Tard has built a vast network of more than 16,000 convenience stores around the world, starting from a sole store opened in 1980 in Laval, Quebec, by now-billionaire Canadian businessman Alain Bouchard.


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