Belfast Telegraph

Strong pre-tax profits for Topaz ahead of rebrand

By John Mulligan

Forecourts retailer Topaz, soon to be rebranded as Circle K, posted a pre-tax profit of €13.3m (£11.6m) in the 16 months to the end of April last year, newly-filed accounts show.

Revenue at Circle K Retail for the period was €215.8m (£189m).

The accounts note that the turnover is derived from the sale of petroleum products and convenience store items.

There are more than 420 Topaz forecourts across the island of Ireland, with one of the group's main competitors being stock market-listed Applegreen.

Businessman Denis O'Brien sold Topaz to Alimentation Couche-Tard in a deal that involved almost €260m (£227m), with the Canadian group also assuming long-term debt of about €133m (£116m) and other debt tranches.

It had been speculated at the time of the sale that the enterprise value of the deal, including equity and debt, was about €450m (£393m).

That was about twice the amount Mr O'Brien invested in Topaz to secure control of it from the special liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, in 2013. As Couche-Tard announced its plan to buy Topaz in 2015, the Irish forecourt retailer also finalised a €75m (£65.6m) acquisition of a chain of Esso outlets here.

Mr O'Brien owned 90% of Topaz, with his nephew Emmet O'Neill owning the remainder.

Topaz has said that the move to rebrand will further strengthen the chain's position in the Irish market.

Couche-Tard uses the Circle K brand at more than 12,000 sites around the world.

Next week, the Circle K brand will be launched in Ireland.

Topaz, whose managing director is Niall Anderton, will then become known as Circle K Ireland.

The launch will be attended by Jacob Schram, the group president of European operations at Circle K.

Belfast Telegraph

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