Canadian c-store chain Couche-Tard reported an increase in adjusted first-quarter earnings, although reported profits fell on costs from its first acquisition in Europe.

Couche-Tard said net earnings excluding charges from the purchase of Norway’s Statoil Fuel and Retail, as well as losses on forward contracts, were up 23.8% at US$173m for the three months to 22 July. Reported net earnings fell 26.2% to $102.9m.

Nevertheless, operating income rose 33.4% to $243.8m. Revenues were up 16.3% at $6.02bn. Same-store merchandise revenues increased 2.8% in the US and by 5% in Canada. In the US, excluding tobacco products, the increase was 6.6%.

CFO Raymond Paré said: “During the remainder of fiscal year 2013 and the upcoming fiscal years, we will favour a rapid reduction of our indebtedness level to allow us the flexibility to seize opportunities that lie ahead. Likewise, we remain determined to maintain the quality of our credit profile by keeping focused on organic growth as well as growth through acquisitions.

“Given our past experience as well as the quality and the geographical diversification of cash flows generated by our operations, and considering that we expect that Statoil Fuel & Retail should significantly and positively contribute to our results starting this year, we are confident that we will be able to meet our objectives.”

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