Couche-Tard profit misses as U.S. fuel gross margin shrinks

Reuters
Pedestrians walk past a Couche-Tard convenience store in Montreal
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Pedestrians walk past a Couche-Tard convenience store in Montreal, April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne …

(Reuters) - Canadian convenience store and gasoline station operator Alimentation Couche-Tard reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a fall in gross margin on U.S. fuel sales.

The company's shares fell as much as 2.7 percent in early trading on Monday.

Road transportation gross fuel margin in the United States fell more than 23 percent to 14.85 cents per gallon, offsetting the impact of higher same-store sales.

Couche-Tard, whose outlets include Mac's and Circle K, reported an adjusted profit of 22 cents per share, below analysts' expectations of 25 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $8.95 billion, beating the average estimate of $8.64 billion.

Net income fell to $145.1 million, or 25 cents per share, in the quarter ended April 27, from $146.4 million, 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

Profit was also hurt by the weakening of the Canadian dollar and the Norwegian krone against the U.S. dollar.

The company, which operates in the United States, Europe and Canada, said in March its founder and Chief Executive Alain Bouchard would step down and Chief Operating Officer Brian Hannasch would take over. The transition is expected to take place in September.

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard's shares, which have risen about 11 percent in the past six months up to Thursday's close, were down 2.4 percent at $28.63 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday.

(Reporting By Tanvi Mehta in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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