Couche-Tard Experiences Growth Via Acquisition

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Couche-Tard Experiences Growth Via Acquisition

LAVAL, Quebec -- An economic slowdown in the U.S. withstanding, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s first quarter earnings report touted record revenues of $4.3 billion, up by $745.5 million or 20.9 percent.

"It was a tough quarter with economic slack in the U.S. divisions," Chairman, President and CEO Alain Bouchard said during a conference call. "It remains a very competitive market."

Among hurdles, is consumer spending. "Customers are more careful with spending and in store buying and are driving less," he added.

Moving toward the positive, he noted the inclusion of 196 Irving c-stores, 124 of which will operate in the U.S. The remaining 56 stores from the deal earlier this year will be integrated by the end of the fiscal year, he noted.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2009, the company also acquired 70 company-operated stores from Spirit Energy LLC. The stores will operate under the Convenient Food Mart banner in the St. Louis, Mo., area and nearby central Illinois. It also acquired 15 company-operated stores from Speedway Superamerica LLC. The acquired stores operate under the Speedway banner in central Illinois area.

Bouchard noted that on Aug. 22, 2008, the company terminated its contract with Dunkin Brands, a process that will occur during the next 12 to 18 months. "This will not have a significant impact on our financial results and we will focus on our proprietary brands and quick-serve restaurants networks," Bouchard said during the conference call.

In other Couche-Tard news, the company’s CFO, Richard Fortin, stepped down from this post effective yesterday. Fortin, who served the company for 25 years, will continue to sit on the company’s executive committee, and effective Oct. 12, 2008, he will become chairman of the board.

"I carefully weighed and prepared this change which meets two key objectives: I will be free to devote more time to personal ventures while continuing to actively contribute to the company's strategic direction ranging from development to financials," Fortin said in a statement.

As a result, company President and CEO Alain Bouchard, who is also the current chairman of the board, will remain president and CEO, while Raymond Pare, Couche-Tard’s vice president, corporate finance and treasurer, will be promoted to vice president and CFO.

"We are delighted that Mr. Fortin agreed to remain in an active capacity as chairman while also continuing to sit on the executive committee," said Bouchard. "As a result, we can still tap into his tremendous experience and knowledge of the convenience industry."

Pare joined Couche-Tard five years ago and has worked closely with Fortin on all major company initiatives.

"I am thrilled by this token of trust in my abilities," said Pare. "It was an honor to work alongside Mr. Fortin for so many years and I look forward to counting on his savvy advice in the future."