Canadian convenience store operator Couche-Tard posts higher third-quarter profit

By Laura Bissonnette, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — The Canadian convenience store operator is boosting its annual dividend for a sixth consecutive year as it posted lower third-quarter earnings due to higher costs to open stores and fuel prices that edged upward.

Alimentation Couche-Tard reported a profit of $264.6 million, or 80 cents per share, on revenue of $7.31 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $236.3 million, or 75 cents per share, on revenue of $7.23 billion in the same period a year ago.

The results included a one-time, non-cash writedown of $30.5 million related to the company’s 18 per cent equity interest in Moscow-based retailer DiDi Chubu which was sold last year.

Adjusted to exclude the special items, the retailer said it earned 91 cents per share, down from 98 cents per share a year ago. That was in line with estimates of 89 cents per share from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters Eikon.

For the first nine months of the year, it reported a profit of $851.9 million, or $2.58 per share, compared with $757.2 million, or $2.26 per share, a year ago.

Adjusted to exclude the special items, net income was $802.7 million, or $2.46 per share, for the first nine months of the year compared with $821.7 million, or $2.39 per share, in the prior year.

The company also said its board approved an annual increase of approximately 12 per cent of its total cash dividend, from $2.08 to $2.32 per common share.

“We continue to advance our strategic objectives for ongoing profitable growth and we will continue to take advantage of accretive investments in strong, differentiated assets,” Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. president and CEO Brian Hannasch said in a news release Tuesday.

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