* Adjusted EPS 81 cents below 87 cents forecast
* Revenue up 75 pct to $11.57 billion
* U.S. same-store sales up 2.6 percent, excluding tobacco
* Shares fall as much as 6 percent
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, March 19 Convenience store operator
Alimentation Couche-Tard reported a 56 percent jump in
quarterly profit Tuesday, but results fell short of analysts'
estimates, sending shares down as much as 6 percent.
Net income for the third quarter ended Feb. 3 rose to $142.5
million, or 75 cents a share, from $86.8 million, or 48 cents, a
Shares were at C$54.63, down 1.7 percent, by late afternoon
on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They had earlier dropped as low
Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard said results were bolstered
by its acquisitions, higher margins on fuel and a lower income
tax rate. However, higher-than-expected selling expenses and
general and administrative costs cut into the company's profit,
some analysts said.
"Adjusted earnings were below expectation, especially after
considering that earnings were facilitated by a U.S. gas margin
that was higher than our estimate and added about $0.10 per
share to results," Peter Sklar, an analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns,
said in a note to clients.
Excluding foreign exchange losses and acquisition costs, net
earnings were 81 cents a share. Revenue at the Laval,
Quebec-based company rose 75 percent to $11.57 billion.
Analysts, on average, had expected earnings per share of 87
cents on revenue of $11.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
Total merchandise and service revenues rose 4.4 percent in
the United States and 5.1 percent in Canada. Excluding sales of
tobacco, same-store sales rose 2.6 percent in the United States.
The company acquired 60 company-operated or franchised and
other affiliated stores during the quarter.
Since the third quarter, it added another 29
company-operated stores last month in Illinois, Missouri and
Oklahoma, from Dickerson Petroleum Inc. Couche-Tard owns the
land and buildings for 25 sites and leases the remainder.
Couche-Tard operates more than 6,100 convenience stores in
its network in North America, most of which sell fuel, under
banners that include Mac's and Circle K.
Thanks to its recent acquisition of Norway's Statoil Fuel &
Retail, the company now also operates more than 2,300 fuel
stations in Scandinavia, Poland, the Baltics and Russia, most of
which sell convenience goods.
Sklar noted the company provided limited segmented
disclosure for Statoil and no comparable results, making it
difficult to assess the performance of its European operations.