Addressing shareholders at Couche-Tard ’s AGM after the retailer posted revenue growth of 30.9% for Q1 2007 last week, management spoke of the company’s aggressive acquisition strategy and predicted continued strong growth in the coming years.

The third-largest convenience store operator in North America increased its earnings by 25% in the last financial year and reported that net revenues grew from US$674.8m to US$2.86bn. While earnings for the quarter declined, the company said that this was the result of one-off items, adding that were it not for these Couche-Tard would have posted a 14% earnings rise.

“For the quarter ended 23 July, 2006, net earnings amounted to $44.6m or $0.21 per
share on a diluted basis, a decline of $9.5m. Excluding unusual items and those over which Couche-Tard has little control, net earnings would have reached $61.7m or $0.30 per share on a diluted basis, up 14.0% over the net earnings of the first quarter of the previous year. These unusual factors include a retroactive income tax expense of $9.9m in the first quarter, following the adoption of Bill 15 by the Government of Quebec,” the company said.

Speaking at the AGM, chief financial officer Richard Fortin said: “There is no reason why we shouldn’t achieve 15-20% earnings growth year after year.”

Couche-Tard plans to open 100 to 130 stores a year and add at least 200 sites through acquisitions, chief executive officer Alain Bouchard said. Couche-Tard is currently examining “several” acquisitions both at home and in the US, Bouchard added.

The company operates under the Circle K and Mac’s formats in Canada and the US.