Canada's Couche-Tard enters Asia with near $360 million Hong Kong acquisition

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past a Couche-Tard convenience store in Montreal, April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc ATDb.TO has entered the Asian market through a deal to buy Convenience Retail Asia Ltd's 0831.HK Hong Kong unit for HK$2.79 billion ($359.80 million), the companies said on Thursday.

The Circle K convenience stores and Saint Honore bakery chain operator plans to declare a special dividend of HK$3.85 per share to its shareholders, with the dividend to be paid before the end of 2020, Convenience Retail Asia said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse.

The convenience store business, with net asset value of HK$622 million as of end-June 2020, comprises 340 Circle K stores in Hong Kong, and the net proceeds will be used to pay the special dividend, the Hong Kong-listed firm added.

The unit, which holds the second largest market share in Hong Kong, will be acquired by Couche-Tard on a cash-free and debt-free basis, the Canadian company said in a separate statement.

The deal will be financed through available cash on hand and is expected to close by Dec. 31.

In September, Couche-Tard reported its quarterly results in which a coronavirus-led slump in fuel demand brought its total revenue down 31.4% to $9.71 billion. Net income attributable to the company rose 44.2% to $777.1 million in the same period.

($1 = 7.7545 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Donny Kwok in Hong Kong and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill