Last updated on February 6th, 2018 at 04:05 pm
The Kroger Co. has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its c-store business unit to EG Group, a privately held c-store retailer based in Blackburn, Lancashire, U.K., for $2.15 billion. The companies expect to close the transaction during the first quarter of Kroger’s fiscal year.
As part of the agreement, EG Group will establish its North American headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and continue to operate stores under their established banner names.
Kroger announced in October of last year its intention to explore strategic alternatives for its c-store business, including a potential sale, in conjunction with Restock Kroger.
“Our convenience store business has been a part of our company for many years. We want to thank our management team and associates for their enduring commitment to our customers, and for the contributions they have made to build our supermarket fuel business,” said Mike Schlotman, Kroger’s EVP and CFO. “As part of our regular review of assets, it has become clear that our strong convenience store business unit will better meet its full potential outside of our business.
“One of the most important considerations in our decision-making process was continued operations to ensure minimal disruption to our associates. We are very pleased the EG Group plans to establish their North American headquarters in Cincinnati. EG Group is also a recognized international petrol forecourt convenience operator and they have a commercial model which clearly looks to enhance the consumer offer by working with leading retail brands customers know and trust. This is good for our associates across the country and for our headquarter city of Cincinnati. Throughout the process we were impressed with the EG Group’s professionalism, investment commitment and more importantly their understanding of the US convenience retail market. We now look forward to working with them closely to ensure a smooth transition for associates.”
Mohsin Issa, EG Group founder and co-CEO added, “This is an exciting time for EG Group, the entry into the U.S. market presents a fantastic opportunity to deliver a successful retail offer to consumers across the various states. We have had much success across Europe, and we firmly believe the Kroger assets present a fantastic foundation to overlay our retail experience and know-how in the US. We are committed to investing in the Kroger network, partnering with leading retail brands and working with the exceptional management team and associates transferring across to deliver a comprehensive retail offer.”
“Our business model is simple but effective—EG Group is creating a stronger relationship between consumers and leading retail brands they want to access. In the U.S., we aim to create a retail environment which delivers convenience, provides value and serves as a retail destination offering excellent welfare to motorists who live and work near our petrol forecourt convenience retail stores,” said Zuber Issa, EG Group founder and co-CEO.
Kroger plans to use net proceeds from the sale to repurchase shares and to lower its net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio.
Kroger’s c-store business operates in 18 states. It includes 66 franchise operations. The stores employ 11,000 associates and operate under the following banner names: Turkey Hill, Loaf ‘N Jug, Kwik Shop, Tom Thumb and Quik Stop. Kroger’s c-store business generated revenue of $4 billion, including selling 1.2 billion gallons of fuel, in 2016.
Kroger’s supermarket fuel centers and its Turkey Hill Dairy are not included in the sale.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The company expects the transaction to close quickly as EG Group has no U.S. presence today.