If you haven’t heard of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (TSX:ATD.B) before, you’ll remember it after you read this. The company is one the largest convenience store and gas station operators in the world with an astonishing footprint of over 14,000 locations across all provinces and nearly all states. You’ve probably been to one or more of the locations without realizing it. The company owns and operates the Mac’s Daisy Mart, Becker’s, On the Run, and Circle K.
So why is Couche-Tard a good fit for your portfolio? Let’s look at a few reasons why.
Great quarterly results
In the most recent quarter, Couche-Tard earned $415.7 million, or $0.73 per share diluted, representing a healthy increase over the $286.2 million, or $0.50 per share diluted, for the same quarter last year.
Revenue came in slightly lower at $8.44 billion, down from $8.95 billion, than the same quarter last year. The company noted that the results for the quarter included a gain from the sale of the lubricant business as well as other non-recurring expenses and integration costs.
Excluding those one-time items, the company earned $375 million, or $0.66 per share diluted, representing a $62 million increase over the $313 million, or $0.55 per share diluted, reported for the same quarter last year.
As a result of those greater-than-expected results, Couche-Tard increased the quarterly dividend by 1.25 cents to $0.0675 per share. While this is not exactly the greatest of yields at 0.4%, the company has increased the dividend several times over the past few years, with more increases surely to come in the future as the company pays down debt.
Aggressive expansion with more to come
Last year, company founder Alain Bouchard stated that the number of retail locations the company has could be doubled by 2023. Given the number of locations, this seemed like a distant goal at the time.
Truth be told, the company has acquired a number of brands over the past year, causing the number of locations to shoot up to nearly 15,000. When the company acquired North Carolina-based The Pantry earlier this year for $860 million, Couche-Tard expanded its footprint in North America by 1,500 locations.
Growth through acquisition has been successful for the company and will likely continue. With several thousand gas stations operated by oil companies, there is massive potential for Couche-Tard to expand further in this regard.
In Canada alone, Suncor Energy Inc. and Husky Energy Inc. have a network of nearly 2,000 stations. As oil companies are still reeling from reduced prices, they are opting to reduce expenses and shore up on cash whenever possible. One option would be to sell those stations to Couche-Tard. This would be a convenient win-win deal for both.
Couche-Tard currently trades at slightly over $62, just off the 52-week high of $63.23. The stock is up by 32% over the past six-months and, when extending this out to a full year, the stock is up by a respectable 56.8%.
Long-term investors will rejoice knowing that the five-year increase for the stock price is an incredible 649%. That figure alone solidifies this stock as one of the best-performing stocks over the long term.
In my opinion, Couche-Tard is a great investment for investors seeking long-term growth. The company is on solid financials, has an aggressive, yet on-target expansion schedule, and has a dividend that is slowly but constantly growing.