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Alimentation Couche-Tard ups offer for Australian convenience chain, says Caltex

UnknownCaltex Australia Ltd., Australia’s largest retail fuel and convenience chain, says it has received a revised takeover offer from Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.

The Australian company says the proposal would pay AU$35.25 cash per share less any dividends declared or paid by Caltex. The revised proposal allows Caltex to pay a special dividend to shareholders.

The Australian retailer says the Quebec-based convenience store chain has indicated its revised price was its “best and final price in the absence of a competing proposal.’”

Couche-Tard raised its offer for Caltex from AU$34.50 per share after the AuUnknown-1stralian firm said the $7.7-billion offer in December undervalued the company. It was also rebuffed in October when it made a offer of AU$32 per share.

Caltex operates approximately 2,000 service stations.Couche-Tard already owns about two% of Caltex shares.


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Greenergy announces merger with Canada’s BG Fuels

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 3.55.32 PMGreenergy and BG Fuels are merging.

Greenergy is an international supplier of transportation fuels and BG is a high-profile Canadian gasoline and convenience retailer that operates under the Mobil, Mr. Gas, Waypoint and Oops brands.

In a statement, the companies said: “By combining Greenergy’s supply chain expertise and growing independent dealer offer, and BG Fuels’ national retail brand management and site operation capabilities, the merger will create economies of scale and provide the industry with greater choice and flexibility for fuel supply and retail branding.”

BG Fuels will be integrated into Greenergy during the next 12 months and current Greenergy CEO Christian Flach will lead the combined business. Joe Calderone, CEO of BG Fuels, will join the board.

unnamed“Since entering the Canadian market in 2013, Greenergy has invested in strategic infrastructure in Ontario to deliver low-cost and resilient fuel supply to customers, and also introduced two new retail brands for the independent dealer market,” Flach said in a release. “The merger with BG Fuels will allow us to extend our supply footprint and retail offer across Canada, enabling significant future growth. The experience and resources of both businesses will further strengthen our retail offer to the independent dealer market.”

Calderone added: “Our extensive retail experience and commitment to consumers has seen BG Fuels become a leading fuel and convenience retailer in Canada. We look forward to leveraging Greenergy’s proven supply chain capabilities to enhance our portfolio of service stations across Canada.”

BG Fuels is a Mobil-branded wholesaler and wholly owns the Mr. Gas, Oops and Waypoint brands.

Established in the UK 28 years ago, Greenergy is a supplier and distributor of transportation fuels. The company entered the Canadian market in 2013 and has since invested in strategically important infrastructure assets across Ontario, including Concord, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Johnstown.  With both sea and rail-fed terminals and storage in the US Mid-West, Quebec and Ontario, Greenergy can source product through multiple channels, thereby reducing dependency on any one third-party provider and minimizing the risk of supply disruption for customers.

tn-a27e1aa004d6567ee59e6bf6300a1888In November, Greenergy introduced the Inver forecourt brand to Canada and now has five Inver locations in Ontario (Inver is an established brand in Ireland and was acquired by Greenergy in October 2017).

The move was designed to extend Greenergy’s existing retail offer in Canada, where Greenergy also has developed Breakaway, a hockey-themed forecourt brand tailored to Canadian consumers.


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Merger off between Altria and Philip Morris

Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) have decided against joining forces as merger talks between the two tobacco leaders end.

“While we believed the creation of a new merged company had the potential to create incremental revenue and cost synergies, we could not reach agreement,” said Altria’s Chairman and CEO Howard Willard. “We look forward to continuing our commercialization of IQOS in the U.S. under our existing arrangement.”

In late 2013, Altria and PMI formed a strategic partnership to bring PMI’s heat-not-burn product IQOS to the United States.

This spring, the Food and Drug Administration approved a Pre Market Tobacco Application for IQOS, paving the way for the product to hit U.S. stores. In September, the first U.S. IQOS retail store at Lenox Square in Atlanta.

IQOS is an electronic device that heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol. Under and exclusive licensing agreement with PMI, Philip Morris USA will commercialize IQOS in the U.S. with Marlboro Heatsticks.

“After much deliberation, the companies have agreed to focus on launching IQOS in the U.S. as part of their mutual interest to achieve a smoke-free future,” added PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos.

Rumors about a possible merger have been around for years, kicking up every few months— with the most recent coming at the end of the summer. On Aug. 27, Altria and PMI did confirm they were in discussions about merging the two companies. However, at the time, Altria said there can be no assurance that any agreement or transaction will result from these discussions.

“While we are dismayed by today’s announcement that PMI and Altria have ended merger talks, we aren’t all that surprised given the length of negotiations (nearly a month since talks were confirmed) and the litany of negative FDA [Food and Drug]/health headlines throughout,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director of tobacco, beverage and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC,

Based in Richmond, Altria’s wholly owned subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, John Middleton Co., Sherman Group Holdings LLC and its subsidiaries, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd., and Philip Morris Capital Corp.

The company holds equity investments in Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, Juul Labs Inc. and Cronos Group Inc.

PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the United States.

PMI’s smoke-free IQOS product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. Its heat-not-burn product is available for sale in 48 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand.

Originally published at Convenience Store News.


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Indigo Natural Products Management merges with New Age Marketing

Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 10.45.33 AMIndigo Marketing Inc. and New Age Marketing and Brand Management Ltd. are merging and the combined businesses will continue under the Indigo Natural Products Management banner.

With more than 26 years in operation, Indigo is proud of their heritage in the natural products industry, while Calgary-based New Age Marketing has been providing brokerage services in the channel since 1987 and has been instrumental in the introduction and support of many top-selling natural brands throughout the Canadian marketplace.

As a national broker, Indigo will now represent an even more diversified range of leading Canadian and U.S. food and beverage brands, personal care and natural household products. High-profile convenience brands include, Bark Thins, Buddha Brands, Skinny Pop, Amy’s and Tazo to name a few.

President Tony Luongo will continue to lead the business. 

“The Canadian Natural Products Industry continues to change rapidly. To best compete in this ever-evolving space, the union of Indigo and New Age brings several benefits to clients and customers alike,” Luongo said in a release. “Through our shared values, culture and passion for the Natural business, we look forward to propelling our combined organizations to a new level of growth and to continue to deliver exceptional value to our clients and our Canadian trade partners.”

According to the Canadian Health Food Association, the natural health product industry contributes $4 billion, and the organic product industry contributes another $5 billion to the Canadian economy.


Altria in merger discussions with Philip Morris International

Screen Shot 2019-09-03 at 11.30.55 AMTwo major tobacco players are exploring the possibility of joining forces.

Altria Group Inc. confirmed it is in discussions with Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) to merge the two companies. The talks centre around a potential all-stock, merger of equals.

According to Altria, there can be no assurance that any agreement or transaction will result from these discussions. In addition, if Altria and PMI reach an agreement, there can be no assurance that the two sides will complete the transaction.

Any transaction would be subject to the approval of the two companies’ boards and shareholders, and regulators, as well as other conditions.

Based in Richmond, Altria’s wholly owned subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, John Middleton Co., Sherman Group Holdings LLC and its subsidiaries, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd., and Philip Morris Capital Corp.

The company holds equity investments in Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, Juul Labs Inc. and Cronos Group Inc.

PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the United States.

PMI’s smoke-free IQOS product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. Its heat-not-burn product is available for sale in 48 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand.

In December 2013, the two companies came together to form a strategic framework to commercialize reduced-risk products and electronic cigarettes. Two years later, Altria and PMI extended the pact to include a joint research, development and technology-sharing agreement, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

As part of the agreement, Altria’s PM USA commercializes IQOS in the United States with three HeatStick variants: Marlboro Heatsticks, Marlboro Smooth Menthol Heatsticks and Marlboro Fresh Menthol Heatsticks. The company brings the product to its first test market, Atlanta, in September.

Rumors about a possible merger have been swirling around for some time, with reports kicking up a notch on Aug. 26.

In response to the renewed speculation, Bonnie Herzog, managing director of tobacco, beverage and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, noted the firm believes a merger will happen especially considering Altria’s stake in Juul and IQOS.

According to Herzog, key reasons the probability of a deal are now higher include:

  • Altria’s stake in Juul and the vapor company’s “clear dominance” of the U.S. e-cigarette/vapor market and international ambitions;
  • PMI will capture the full margin and accelerate the growth of IQOS in the U.S. given its full control over sales and distribution; and
  • PMI can invest Altria’s strong U.S. free cash flow to further catapult the growth of IQOS globally.

Herzog first raised the possibility of an Altria-PMI tie up in December 2016.

Originally published at Convenience Store News.