Couche-Tard to Acquire 90 Spectrum C-Stores
LAVAL, Quebec - Alimentation Couche-Tard here said it has agreed to acquire Spectrum Holdings, operators of 90 convenience stores in Georgia and Alabama. The deal, which would add approximately $325 million (U.S.) to Alimentation's annual sales, is expected to close in June. No purchase price was disclosed. Spectrum, based in West Point, Ga., operates Spectrum convenience stores and fuel stations dispensing Shell, BP and private gas brands. Alimentation operates nearly 5,000 Circle K stores in the U.S. and Canada.
A&P Stock Adjusted for Cash Dividend Payout
MONTVALE, N.J. - A&P's stock was adjusted downward by the value of its upcoming special dividend last week. The stock closed at $34.70 Wednesday and opened Thursday at $27.45, reflecting the $7.25 per-share dividend the company announced earlier this month. The dividend, which A&P said rewards shareholders with cash generated in its sale of A&P Canada, may also effect consolidation, analysts said, by decreasing A&P's stock price.
Safeway Expects $315 Million in Tax Benefits
PLEASANTON, Calif. - Safeway here said it expects to record more than $300 million in tax refunds this year, with the majority coming as the result of a settling claim with the Internal Revenue Service over returns filed from 1992 to 1999. Safeway said it expected to record a tax refund of $259 million in the second quarter plus around $56 million in interest. The settlement relates to claims for refunds between 1992 and 1999 for costs associated with debt financing. In addition, Safeway said it expected to get state tax refunds of around $30 million and interest of $10 million.
Northern California Unions Agree to Merger
ROSEVILLE, Calif. - Union members in California have approved the combination of two locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers, creating what the union calls the largest UFCW affiliate in the Western states. The combination of UFCW Local 588 in Northern California and UFCW Local 1288 in Central California - now called Local 8-Golden State - represents more than 30,000 workers from the Oregon border to Kern County. Jacques Loveall, president of Local 588, will head the new affiliate.
Wal-Mart to FDIC: No Plans for 'Branch Banking'
WASHINGTON - Wal-Mart Stores is "absolutely and unequivocally committed not to engage in branch banking," Jane Thompson, Wal-Mart's president of financial services, told the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last week during public hearings on the retailer's petition to open an industrial loan company. Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., has said it wants to open a chartered bank in Utah to process its own credit and debit payments, and in a statement last week urged regulators not to yield to "unfounded speculation and heated rhetoric about topics unrelated to our application." Wal-Mart's petition has met strong opposition from a number of groups, including the National Grocers Association. Gary Phillips, a past NGA chairman and president and chief executive of Associated Wholesale Grocers, is scheduled to address the FDIC at a second round of hearings next week in Kansas City.
C&S SAYS CLASS-ACTION Wage Suit 'Without Merit'
KEANE, N.H. - C&S Wholesale Grocers here said a class-action lawsuit charging the company with various wage-and-hour violations was "without merit," and that the company "is confident it will be vindicated on all counts." As reported in SN April 10, four individuals - three former employees and one current employee of C&S's Newburgh, N.Y., warehouse - filed a $750 million suit in New York saying C&S failed to pay overtime, forced employees to work through breaks and other violations.