Irving Oil Buys 13 Ultramar Gas Stations Across Atlantic Canada

An Irving Sign at a Gas Station in Nova Scotia. Image: iStock

HALIFAX – The Ultramar name will disappear from the Atlantic Canadian retail gas landscape and be replaced by Irving Oil.

On Tuesday, Irving Oil announced a deal to buy 13 Ultramar-branded Atlantic Canadian retail gas stations from Couche-Tard, the owner of the Circle K convenience stores that already share locations with Irving gas bars.

Couche-Tard will retain ownership of 23 other gas stations in Atlantic Canada that had the Ultramar brand, but they will now become Irving gas bars in another agreement also announced Tuesday.

Jeff Matthews, Chief Business Development Officer at Irving Oil, makes a complex series of corporate maneuvers seem straightforward.

“The 13 will be owned by Irving Oil and operated by Circle K, the other 23 will be owned by Circle K, but we will manage the fuel component,” he said.

Couche-Tard, a Quebec multinational operator of convenience stores, had acquired these Atlantic Canadian stations through a merger with American fuel and convenience retailer CST Brands.

Many of the assets were sold to Canadian firm Parkland Fuel, but the rest of the Ultramar-branded assets in Atlantic Canada will have the Irving name after today, Matthews said. The completion of the branding transition will take place this fall.

The value of the deal wasn’t disclosed.

“We’ve been proud to serve Atlantic Canada for over 90 years and this is a continuation of that service. This is an opportunity for us to access more customers in a very important marketplace for us,” Matthews said.

Nine of the 13 acquired locations are in Nova Scotia, with sites in Halifax, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville and Truro. The others are in St. John’s, Charlottetown and Dieppe.

The deal with Couche-Tard follows Irving Oil’s $80-million investment to reopen the Halifax Harbour Terminal in 2016, which was deactivated in 2002. The reactivation allowed for the storage and distribution of gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, marine transportation fuel, and jet fuel for customers throughout Nova Scotia.

“The reopening of the Halifax Harbour Terminal was a very important investment for us as a company and for us as a region,” Matthews said.

“When we acquired [the Couche-Tard] sites, it builds off that investment. For us to be able to commit to buying assets of these nature, we had to have the security and supply of that marine terminal. So, like everything else we do at Irving Oil, we hope that the last investment helps us make the next investment,” he added.

Irving Oil and Couche-Tard’s relationship goes back to 2008 in Atlantic Canada, and since 2003 in Quebec, Matthews said.

“And this is just an extension of that relationship, where they provide operation experience in our stores and help us deliver that experience to the customer,” he said.

“We’re excited about this and we look forward to serving more of the customers in these locations.”