Who is Couche-Tard, this Canadian brand that is buying TotalEnergies service stations?

Who is Couche Tard this Canadian brand that is buying TotalEnergies

More than 1,600 service stations, in Germany or the Netherlands. On March 16, TotalEnergies announced that it would sell part of its business to the Canadian food and fuel distribution group Couche-Tard, to better prepare for the end of sales of thermal vehicles in Europe in 2035. In Belgium and Luxembourg , the two groups will also join forces in a joint venture (TotalEnergies will hold 40% and Couche-Tard 60%), which will operate 619 stations. The amount of the transaction is 3.1 billion euros.

With a turnover of 59 billion euros in 2022, Couche-Tard is one of the world leaders in the market of convenience stores open 7 days a week, with a catering offer, a shop and a service station. Founded in 1980, the Canadian group has more than 14,000 points of sale in North America, Asia and Northern Europe. It employs more than 120,000 people.

By operating this partnership with Total, Couche-Tard hopes to further increase its influence. “Total’s network is very well positioned with significant size and market share in the four countries. We have visited hundreds of their establishments and they are good operators. They have a good offer to consumers”, underlines the president and CEO, Brian Hannasch, at the Quebec newspaper The duty. In total, the company estimates that it will be able to generate 120 million euros in synergy over a three-year period with this acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2023.

Achieve carbon neutrality

The Canadian convenience store specialist’s interest in Europe is not recent. In 2021, he hit the headlines by offering to buy Carrefour for 16 billion euros, before coming up against the veto of the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, who feared a risk for French “food sovereignty”. Like Carrefour, Couche-Tard has grown through the acquisition of competitors: first in the United States in the early 2000s, then in Northern Europe in 2012 with the takeover of the Norwegian group Statoil. Today, the sale of fuel represents 70% of its activity.

For TotalEnergies, this operation is part of a strategy of “transformation into a multi-energy company” and “an ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050”, indicates the company in a press release. The latter has set itself the goal of reducing its sales of petroleum products by 30% by 2030, so as not to sell or refine more fuels than it produces oil. Since 2015, TotalEnergies has therefore sold its service station networks in Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Those acquired by Couche-Tard will keep the TotalEnergies brand in the four countries, as long as they are supplied with fuel by the oil group “for at least five years”, says the company.