Perseverance, development and results: words to live by at Couche-Tard and a vision that has proven it can generate success. Over the years, the company we built has grown through acquisitions, but it has prospered because of our outstanding ability to transform each of them and create value for shareholders. If revenues are a factor by which we measure achievement, we can definitely say we are doing something right as we doubled our total revenues over the past 6 years, taking them to an impressive US$37.9 billion.
Fiscal 2017 was witness to the announcement of the most important acquisition in our history with the purchase of CST Brands, Inc. (”CST”), the fourth largest network of convenience stores and service stations in North America. Personally, this acquisition is one that I have dreamt of for 20 years. It was made possible by favourable circumstances, and also by the intelligence and energy of our CEO, Brian Hannasch, and of our dedicated management team. At the close of the transaction, on June 28, Couche-Tard became a leader in the convenience store and road transportation fuel retail sector, an achievement dear to my heart as we create value for our investors.
I am certain that the honour bestowed on our President and Chief Executive Officer by the Globe & Mail which presented him with the CEO of the Year Award was in great part motivated by the desire to recognize the hard work and dedication he demonstrated to complete this transaction which consolidates Couche-Tard as a force to be reckoned with in the convenience store industry worldwide. We are very proud of him!
I have always thought that in our industry ‘size matters’, whether that be for purchasing, logistics, best practices or for becoming famous for our product categories. The addition of exceptional people and strategic assets from both CST and CrossAmerica Partners LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership (“CAPL”), takes us one step further towards all these goals. We are pleased to welcome the CST and CAPL teams into our growing company.
We continue to thrive on our capacity to seek out the most relevant acquisition deals for the benefit of our investors and we are very well positioned financially to do so over the next years. In doing so, we will adapt our strategies to existing and new markets. In fiscal 2017, we added new country partners with Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia and New Zealand. We are the leader in the Vietnam market with 246 stores to date and 300 anticipated by January 2018.
Our business development strategy is a testament to our vision. We aim to develop our network in countries where we already have operations and, at this time, the potential for international growth clearly lies within the Asian market. In my mind, and that of management’s, there is no way around Asia in our future!
We are also very excited to expand the presence of the Circle KR brand in Mexico. With 461 sites established so far, we are well on our way to rebrand more than 700 of Comercializadora Circulo CCK, S.A. de C.V (“CCK”) existing Extra convenience stores located in Mexico to the Circle KR brand by August 2017. The number of Circle K stores in Mexico is expected to grow notably by 2030.
The company has evolved greatly in the past 20 years, and we continue to evolve every day. Our goal is to sustain momentum, maybe even double the size of the company in the next ten years!
As we continue to integrate acquisitions, we learn from our new experiences with them, we adapt to their reality and we apply this knowledge to our existing sites. In the end, our goal is to keep traffic moving in our stores and continue to attract new customers day after day. We must consistently improve our service offering and make sure all of our actions are driven by the three pillars which support our brand which are to offer: fast and friendly service, quick products for people on the go and easy visits for customers, locally and internationally!
Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board