Surge In Convenience Store Stock Mints New Billionaire

By on April 16, 2019 in ArticlesBillionaire News

The parent company of Circle K, Couche-Tard, has had a run on its stock of late. It is trading at all-time highs, making the last co-founder of the Canadian company and former CFO a billionaire. Richard Fortin's shares in Couche-Tard along with smaller holdings and the cash he's made from dividends and share sales have pushed his net worth to just over $1 billion. Fortin, who sits on the board of Couche-Tard, is the third person to become a billionaire thanks to Circle K. The convenience store operates in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Chairman and retired CEO Alain Bouchard has been a billionaire since 2012 and board member Jacques D'Amours has been in the ranks of billionaires since 2015.

As of this writing, shares of Couche-Tard are trading at $80.52 CAD. Earnings for the company's most recent quarter are up 26.9% and shares are up more than 35% over the past year. Worldwide, the company has more than $50 billion in revenue and $1.7 billion in net earnings for the fiscal year 2018. Analysts believe the stock has been undervalued and it was high time for it to rise in value.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Xnatedawgx

Couche-Tard operates about 8,700 gas stations. The rise in popularity of electric cars could cut into that profit center. However, EVs are not dominating highways yet. Circle K has had strong same store sales performance in the last quarter which helps alleviate the concerns of investors. The convenience store is up 4.9% in Canada and 4.5% in the U.S. largely fueled by the sale of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Couche-Tard was founded in 1980 as a single convenience store in Laval, Quebec. Couche-Tard has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to acquisitions. The company acquired 11 stores in 1985 and spent the next 15 years buying up its competitors. By 2000, Couche -Tard was on nearly every Canadian street corner with 1,600 stores and more than 11,000 employees. The company acquired U.S. based Circle K in 2003 after the chain went into bankruptcy protection in 1990 and several owners before landing under the Couche-Tard umbrella. Circle K has more than 15,000 locations today.

Richard Fortin is a golf and fishing enthusiast who also has stakes in Canadian packaging and publishing company Transcontinental and the National Bank of Canada. His charitable foundation is funded by 240,000 Class B Couche-Tard shares worth about $14 million. The Foundation Lise e Richard Fortin's mission is to provide assistance for the elderly and services for children who are survivors of sexual assault.

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