Newswatch

Alimentation Couche-Tard said last week that it still plans to acquire Casey's General Stores, despite the latter enacting a so-called poison pill that would flood the market with cheap shares if a buyer gained a significant stake on the open market. Casey's, based here, said the amended shareholder rights plan filed calls for a release of half-price

COUCHE-TARD STILL PURSUING CASEY'S

ANKENY, Iowa — Alimentation Couche-Tard said last week that it still plans to acquire Casey's General Stores, despite the latter enacting a so-called “poison pill” that would flood the market with cheap shares if a buyer gained a significant stake on the open market. Casey's, based here, said the amended shareholder rights plan filed calls for a release of half-price shares for all shareholders whenever one shareholder acquires 15% of the company. “A meeting would be more productive than putting barriers, like a poison pill, in our way,” a spokesman for Montreal-based Couche-Tard told the Toronto Sun newspaper.

SEC CHARGES GROCERY RESELLER

WASHINGTON — A Miami Beach-based grocery reseller surrendered to federal authorities last week amid charges that his business, Capitol Investments USA, was a Ponzi scheme used to enrich himself and unrelated business ventures. Nevin K. Shapiro, founder and president of Capitol, ran a grocery-diverting business that purchased low-priced groceries in one region and resold them in another where prices were higher. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Shapiro promised investors returns as high as 26% annually, even though the business operated at a loss. He used funds from new investors to pay principal and interest to older investors. The SEC said Shapiro used at least $38 million of investor money to fund a lavish lifestyle including a $5 million home and $1 million boat. Shapiro also faces criminal charges from the U.S. Attorney's office in New Jersey.

WAL-MART CEO COMPENSATION FALLS

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Michael Duke, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores here, received about $9 million less in total compensation for the recently ended fiscal year, or about 32% less than a year ago, largely because of a lower stock award. Duke received about $19.2 million in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, 2010, compared with about $28.4 million in the preceding year, according to the company proxy statement, which was filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. His base salary rose slightly, to $1.2 million, but stock awards totaled $12.7 million, vs. about $23.7 million a year ago.

PRO'S CUTS 300 WORKERS IN PROBE

ONTARIO, Calif. — Pro's Ranch Markets here has released more than 300 employees at its six Phoenix-area stores — 20% of its workforce there — because they were found to be working without proper work authorization documentation. Julie Pace, a Phoenix-based attorney for the 12-store chain, said an audit by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is ongoing at Pro's other stores — four in Southern California, one in Texas and one in New Mexico. The audits are part of a national process that began last July and that have been conducted at more than 1,600 businesses.

IGA GIVES GRIMES AWARD TO ZAUCHA

CHICAGO — IGA here has presented the J. Frank Grimes Award to Thomas K. Zaucha, president and chief executive officer of the National Grocers Association. Zaucha, who plans to retire June 30, headed NGA for 28 years. The award is named for the founder of IGA. Mark Batenic, IGA-U.S. president, said the award was being presented to Zaucha for his “undying commitment to community-based independent retailers and the wholesalers who service them.”