ACT's Profit Soars

Fourth-quarter profit at Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ACT) rose on lower costs and a revamped convenience store concept, the company said, as its board capitalized on a robust share price by approving a two-for-one stock split.

The Quebec-based company, which is the 10th-largest convenience store retailer in North America according to the Convenience Store News Top 50 convenience store report, said profit for the fourth quarter ended April 29 rose to $1.8 million, from a profit of $800,000 in the same period last year.

Sales rose almost 4 percent to $300 million from the comparable 12-week period last year, the company said, coming in ahead of analysts' forecasts.

Couche-Tard said its board approved a two-for-one split of its class A multiple voting shares and class B subordinate voting shares. The split, subject to regulatory approval, is set for July 20.

On June 22, Couche-Tard completed its acquisition of a network of 225 U.S. stores under the Bigfoot banner from Johnson Oil Co. The acquisition of the stores, all of which offer gasoline sales, will add approximately $500 million in annual sales, boost Couche-Tard's profits and serve as the springboard for further expansion, the company said.

"We intend to capitalize on the development platform provided by Bigfoot by acquiring chains of 10 to 50 stores so as to expand its network to 300 stores in the short to medium term and also benefit from the synergies offered by complementary acquisitions in the buoyant American Midwest market," said Alain Bouchard, ACT's chairman and CEO.

The company also plans to expand its Canadian store network. Overall, Couche-Tard operates 1,889 convenience stores across Canada and Midwestern United States, of which 710 include gasoline dispensing.
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