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Couche-Tard boosts dividend even as Q2 profits slip

Same-store fuel volume was up in Canada, while merchandise revenue dropped

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is boosting its quarterly dividend by nearly 26% even as its net earnings decreased in its latest quarter despite higher revenues.

The Quebec-based convenience store operator says it will pay 11 cents per share, up from 8.75 cents.

Couche-Tard earned US$694.8 million or 65 cents per diluted share in the second quarter of its fiscal year, down from US$757 million or 68 cents per share a year earlier.

Adjusted profits were $693 million or 65 cents per share, down from US$735 million or 66 cents per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2021.

Reporting in U.S. dollars, revenues increased 33.5% to US$14.22 billion from US$10.66 billion in the prior-year quarter, mainly due to higher fuel prices.

Couche-Tard was expected to report 66 cents per share in adjusted profits of US$14 billion of revenues, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

"Fuel volumes showed an upward trend in Europe, while other geographies remained impacted by COVID-19 traffic patterns. Across the board, we continue to achieve healthy fuel margins," stated CEO Brian Hannasch.

Fuel revenues increased 48% to US$10.1 billion. Same-store fuel volume increased 3.3% in the U.S and 2.8% in Canada, and dropped 0.3% in Europe and other regions.

Merchandise revenues increased 5.8% to US$4 billion with a 1.4% increase in the U.S. same-store revenues, 3.9% gain in Europe and other regions and 2.1% decrease in Canada.

"Like our peers across the retail and convenience landscape in North America, this quarter we continued to face unprecedented labour and supply chain challenges. No doubt, this is the most difficult market in recent history, and we are working hard to mitigate the situation,'' added Hannasch.

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