Firm sells Columbus Circle K property to pay down debt

Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canadian company that owns the area's Circle K convenience stores, has sold 83 properties to pay down debt.

The sales include six Circle K stores in Columbus — those on Airport Thruway, Beaver Run Road, Bradley Park Drive, Buena Vista road, South Lumpkin Road and Warm Springs Road. They fetched $12.6 million collectively.

The local property sales are part of Couche-Tard's deal with Cole Credit Property Trust II Inc. and includes Circle K and Mac's convenience stores in several states. The total sales price for the 83 properties is $131.4 million, money that will be used to reduce the firm's unsecured revolving credit line.

It doesn't appear that the sale will have an impact on the convenience stores involved in the deal. Couche-Tard said it has worked out long-term lease agreements on the properties. That includes an initial average term of 20 years, with renewal options for 45 more years.

"I am very satisfied with this transaction which is part of our long-term financing plan and improves our short-term financial leverage," Richard Fortin, Couche-Tard executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in a statement.

Couche-Tard operates 5,637 convenience stores in 29 states and Canada, employing about 45,000 people.

The company purchased the 90-store Spectrum store chain in Georgia and Alabama for $325 million in June 2006.

In its most recent earnings release, Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard reported net income of $54.2 million on revenue of $3.5 billion for the 12-week period ended Oct. 14. The income number was down from $74.7 million during the same period a year ago.

Said Alain Bouchard, Couche-Tard's chairman and chief executive officer: "Last year's second quarter is a tough comparable because of the U.S. gas margin."