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Irish fuel firm Topaz bought by Canadians


Owner: Denis O'Brien

Owner: Denis O'Brien

Owner: Denis O'Brien

Irish fuel retailer Topaz - which has 49 forecourts in Northern Ireland - has been sold to Canadian retailer Couche-Tard. As a result, the company will join a publicly quoted business with a worldwide network of 15,000 convenience stores and service stations.

Topaz chief executive Emmet O'Neill will leave the company when the takeover by the Quebec-based firm closes early next year.

The deal, estimated by industry analysts to have an enterprise value of between €350m (£247m) to €450m (£318m), was announced yesterday and will see the Irish company, which has been owned by businessman Denis O'Brien for the last two years, subsumed into the Couche Tard empire.

Mr O'Brien is also a majority shareholder in Independent News and Media, which owns the Belfast Telegraph.

Couche Tard has around 15,000 sites across its network in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, employing around 100,000 people.

Topaz has a network of 464 service stations, and employs more than 2,000.

Mr O'Neill, who has been chief executive since February, said it was a "truly monumental day for Topaz".

He said: "[This is] something we're absolutely thrilled to have achieved.

"The last few years have a been a period of transformation for Topaz and we've moved from an organisation that was challenged and was weak and had an uncertain future, into a business which is the number one operator in the country, extremely well invested, well branded and well respected."

Topaz, which has just closed on its deal to buy Esso, approached Couche Tard over the summer, although the latter said it had been looking at Topaz for the last five or six years.

Brian Hannasch, Couche Tard chief executive, said the Topaz stores would be branded Circle K.