E Alimentation Couche-Tard Reports Earnings

The company reporting today was Alimentation Couche-Tard (ANCUF) which fell short with its Q3 results. It reports in US dollars because of its US operations are key. For some reason trading was suspended in Canada early this morning but resumed at 9:06 am. It reported $287 mn in net earnings, up 4.7% from $274 mn in the prior Q3, or a diluted 50 cents in Q3, vs 48 cents. The quarter ran to Jan. 29, 2017. The profits were below the consensus from Thomson-Reuters of 53.1 cents.

It also restated earlier quarters and their cash-flow by an accelerated depreciation and amortization schedule affecting Q1 and Q2, for tax reasons, related to its global brand initiatives. These measures created a cost (before tax) for acquisitions of $6 mn, an expense for European restructuring also of $6 mn, and a $2.7 mn curtailment gain on its defined pension benefit plan obligations. It also took a $3 mn charge for foreign exchange losses. For the record, there were similar write-offs a year ago for Q3 2015 for $155.1 mn (including one that did not repeat, for early termination of fuel supply contracts.)

A fitting report for this Pi day and I have my calculator at the ready. ANCUF then offered a new net earnings figure for Q3 in both years, this time $303 mn or 53 cents/sh, and last year $301 mn or 53 cents/sh. So there was a 0.7% rise in profits in the current fiscal Q3 which the Quebec company attributed to its acquisitions, its organic growth, and a lower income tax, all of which were positive, and the negative impact of lower fuel margins in the US and Canada. Big whoop.

ANCUF also said it had beaten its fuel synergy and rebranding target at 1000 The Pantry outlets in the US southeast while cutting its supply costs for non-fuel merchandise and services. The region was hit by floods and power outages from Hurricane Matthew which cost ANCUF an estimated $3 mn in stores totaled, and probably as much as $7 mn for ones which merely lost business during the storm.


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