Couche-Tard Surpasses Goals for 2006

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Couche-Tard Surpasses Goals for 2006

LAVAL, Quebec -- Couche-Tard released its financial status for fiscal 2006, noting that although net earnings were down 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, revenues for the year increased 26.4 percent to $10.16 billion.

During fiscal 2006, Couche-Tard acquired 73 company-operated stores, 27 affiliates and opened an additional 78 stores. It also implemented its IMPACT program in 446 stores throughout North America, exceeding its prior goals.

In addition, the company closed an acquisition of 90 stores in Georgia and Alabama and has signed an agreement to acquire 24 more in Louisiana.

At the start of fiscal 2006, Couche-Tard had 4,845 stores, through acquisitions, openings and closings, it closed the year with 4,983 stores. Those 159 stores, which were closed, "did not have the potential to meet Couche-Tard's contribution expectations," said the company in its release. Most of those stores were part of an acquisition of Circle K branded stores in December.

Alain Bouchard, chairman, president and CEO for Couche-Tard said "The fiscal year was very satisfying considering it was highlighted by solid internal growth and a significant increase in our consolidated merchandise and service gross margins, which rose to 33.4 percent."

Same store merchandiser revenue increased 4.6 percent in the U.S., due to results of the IMPACT program's implementation, as well as new products that were well-received by customers and pricing strategies in select product categories.

Gross profit for Couche-Tard increased 15 percent, or $233.7 million, totaling $1.79 billion for fiscal 2006. Couche-Tard attributes this increase to higher sales and higher gross margins on merchandise and service, as well as motor fuel revenues.

Other information released in the report:
-- Net earnings increased 26.4 percent to $196.2 million, an increase of 94 cents a share.
-- Shareholder's equity totals $966 million, an increase of $31.8 percent.
-- Same-store gas volumes rose 6 percent in the U.S., marking a positive impact of $11.6 million for operating income.
-- Motor fuels accounted for $5.91 billion in revenue for Couche-Tard in fiscal 2006.

Bouchard also gave a preview of what is in store for Couche-Tard. "During fiscal 2007, we will further focus on innovation and the launch of new products and services. We will continue to invest capital in our existing store base with a target on converting approximately 500 stores under our IMPACT program and adding approximately 100 new company-operated store locations through new store development and small acquisitions," he said.