Couche-Tard profit jumps 56 percent, but misses estimates

Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:08pm EDT
 
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATDb.TO: Quote) 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 February 3 rose to $142.5 million, or 75 cents a share, from $86.8 million, or 48 cents, a year earlier.

Shares were at C$54.63, down 1.7 percent, by late afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They had earlier dropped as low as C$52.35.

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 I/B/E/S.

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.   Continued...