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Couche-Tard profit soars on acquisitions, sales gains

A dog named Roxy waits outside a Couche-Tard convenience store in Montreal, April 18, 2012.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has reported a big increase in both fourth-quarter and full-year earnings, citing acquisitions and higher sales and margins as well as a one-week longer reporting period.

The Quebec-based convenience store and fuel station chain operator said net profit in the 13 weeks ended April 29 totalled $117.8-million (U.S.), up $53.3-million or 82.6 per cent from $64.5-million in the 12 weeks ended April 24, 2011.

Earning per diluted share for the quarter totalled 65 cents, up 85.7 per cent from 35 cents per share in the 2011 quarter.

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For the 53-weeks ended April 29, net earnings were $457.6-million or 2.49 per diluted share on revenue of just under $23-billion, compared with $369.2-million or $1.96 per diluted share on revenue of $18.55-billion in the 52-week period a year earlier.

"In light of the fourth quarter results, I believe we concluded fiscal year 2012 on a very strong note," said president and CEO Alain Bouchard.

"We see positive trends in the quarter that make us very optimistic about fiscal 2013. These are in addition to the strong contribution we expect from our recent acquisitions of Statoil Fuel & Retail."

Chief financial officer Raymond Pare said that excluding positive and negative non-recurring items, net earnings for the fourth quarter increased by $37.9-million or 58.8 per cent, corresponding to an increase of 22 cents per share.

"Of course, the thirteenth week of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 slightly contributed to the increase in net earnings but the fact remains that the growth is significant and steady," Mr. Pare said.

Many items contributed to the value creation during the year, including organic growth, acquisitions and cost control, he said.

"In terms of the contribution from acquisitions, it should be noted that most of the stores acquired were only integrated into our network over the third and fourth quarters. The contribution from acquisitions made during fiscal 2012 should therefore be felt more sharply in fiscal 2013," Mr. Pare added.

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