By / December 3, 2019

Why investors should keep an eye on Couche-Tard (ACT)

Alimentation Couche-Tard (ACT) wants to dominate the world, and why not? The convenience store chain is operating 16,000 points of service, has more than 130,000 employees and is generating $60 billion in revenue.

After about sixty acquisitions since 2004, the chain now wants to tackle Asia and double its size within five years. Given the strong record of the Canadian empire of convenience stores, it is hard to believe that the company will not succeed.

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Couche-Tard sets its sights on Australia

Caltrex Australia is operating approximately 2000 stores in Australia and has just received a friendly but unsolicited offer from Alimentation Couche-Tard (ACT) for $7.8 billion, a record amount for the Canadian conglomerate. ACT has long wanted to expand into this populous region of the world.

Although several Australian media and analysts are skeptical about the possible transaction, the offer may come at a time of strategic fragility for Caltrex. The company’s CEO recently announced that he was retiring, leaving room for a new direction for the company.

Another important indicator for ACT is that Caltrex has a new food distribution agreement with Woolworths, the largest food chain in the country. Certainly, this important element allows ACT to better understand the risks of a partnership in the sector. 

To date, ACT remains an independent buyer in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere and does not work with any brand. However, as the transaction is far from being completed, ACT will likely have to make an enhanced offer to convince Caltrex shareholders.

Couche-Tard wants to operate stores internationally.
Couche-Tard (ACT) sets its sights on Australia and Asia. (Source)

The Couche-Tard model

Whether it’s Caltrex or any other, Couche-Tard has the wind in its sails and will eventually leave its mark on the Asian market. The strength of ACT can be summarized in a few notions. First, transactions and mergers of cultures and organizations are a surprising strength at ACT.

The company’s ability to absorb an organization and enable it to reach its full potential is a dream for many organizations. ACT also allows companies that join the conglomerate to contribute to the company’s overall revenues in their own way. Acquisitions are made with respect for the heritage that each newcomer brings.

ACT continues to be a one-stop-shop

In addition, ACT has a good understanding of the practical dimension of consumption. Consumers are rushing to buy and value the one-stop-shop concept. 

Gasoline, cigarettes, alcohol, food, treats, everything is available in ACT stores, 24 hours a day. This innovation brought by Alain Bouchard, ACT’s CEO, stipulates that a convenience store must be open all day long. 

Most importantly, Couche-Tard is well versed in the art of converting pump sales into in-store food sales. The quality of the food found there is good, perhaps not as much or in the same quantities as in the supermarket, but varied enough to create habits. 

Couche-Tard’s involvement in the cannabis industry

ACT is not hiding its passion for cannabis and the chain is likely to make a fuss in this area with its Fire and Flower subsidiary and its interest in buying Cannabis NB, in New Brunswick. 

Couche-Tard expands into cannabis.
Couche-Tard hopes to expand into the cannabis industry with Fire & Flower. (Source)

A mature cannabis market will bring a very different offer and ACT is trying to position itself favourably. The same applies to electric cars.

Not surprisingly, Alain Bouchard’s wealth is exceeding the combined wealth of Stephen Jarislowsky and Charles Bronfman. Bouchard saw the potential of convenience stores long before all consumers realized that the world was longing for time-saving.


(Featured image by Free To Use Sounds via Unsplash)

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