Quebec convenience store chain may buy into Chinese gas station network


Couche-Tard is on the short list to buy a $16 billion stake in Sinopec’s retail arm, which is the world’s largest chain of gas stations. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Alimentation Couche-Tard is among a handful of companies shortlisted to buy a minority stake in China’s Sinopec Sales, the world’s largest fuel retail network, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.

Citing unidentified sources, Reuters said the Quebec-based convenience store operator has been approved for the bidding process, along with China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., China Life Insurance Co Ltd., ENN Energy Holdings Ltd., Fosun Group, Hopu Investment Management and Affinity Equity Partners.

State-run Sinopec Sales, formerly known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., is planning on selling a 30 per cent stake in the company by the end of the year. The minority stake is estimated to be valued at US$16 billion.

It’s unclear how many companies will be shortlisted to bid overall. Bids are due at the end of August, the news agency reported.

Couche-Tard has been looking for acquisitions as it looks to grow its network of stores internationally.

It has more than 6,000 convenience stores and gas stations in North America, more than 2,000 stores in Europe and 4,600 stores in Asia under the banner Circle K.

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