Couche-Tard reports Q2 earnings surge despite hurricane costs

CST Brands acquisition added to the Quebec company's success this quarter

Alimentation Couche-Tard says its earnings surged 35% to a record US$435.3 million in its latest quarter as the CST Brands acquisition more than offset the negative impact of hurricanes in the U.S. south.

The Quebec-based convenience store operator, which reports in U.S. dollars, says it earned 76 cents per diluted share in the second quarter of its fiscal year, up from 57 cents or $321.5 million a year earlier.

"This is even more remarkable in light of the challenges faced by some (of) our network due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the continued softness in the industry in general," Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannasch said in a news release.

Couche-Tard said the two hurricanes reduced sales and caused property damage in Texas and Florida costing $4.8 million.

Excluding one-time charges, Couche-Tard earned $458 million for the three months ended Oct. 15. That compared to $328 million in the prior year.

Revenues were $12.1 billion, up 44% from $8.44 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

Couche-Tard said its fuel revenues were $8.8 billion, with acquisitions contributing about $1.8 billion, while higher selling prices added $819 million.

Excluding the CST network, fuel volumes for stores open at least a year decreased 0.7% in the U.S. as the hurricanes caused store closures and fuel shortages. The CST network, which has 666 stores in Texas, suffered a 5.1% decrease in same-store fuel volumes.

In Canada, fuel volumes excluding CST fell 2.3% mainly due to poor weather conditions in the eastern part of the country. CST Canadian same-store volumes decreased by 6.1%.

European same-store fuel volumes decreased 2.1%.

Merchandise same-store sales grew 0.7% in the U.S. and 1.6% in Europe. Distribution challenges in Western Canada and poor weather in Eastern Canada caused a 1.6% decrease in same-store sales.

Couche-Tard said it had achieved $84 million in cost savings from integrating the San Antonio-based CST Brands network. It expects to realize $150 million to $200 million in savings over three years.

The convenience store retailer purchased CST Brands and its 1,300 locations last August for US$3.4 billion.

The company also purchased and cancelled 4.4 million shares sold by Metro.

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