LAVAL, Que. -- The Quebec-based company that runs Couche-Tard, Mac's and Circle K convenience stores increased its annual profit by 28.4 per cent last year to nearly US$1.2 billion.

The profit included US$206.2 million or 36 cents per share earned in the fourth quarter ended April 24, up more than 60 per cent from US$126 million or 22 cents per share in the comparable period last year.

The higher profit comes as Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (TSX:ATD.B) continued to build its network of convenience stores and gas bars in Canada, the United States and northern Europe.

Revenue for the company -- which reports in U.S. dollars -- was relatively flat.

Annual revenue slipped 1.1 per cent to US$34.1 billion from US$34.5 billion while fourth-quarter revenue rose 1.5 per cent to nearly US$7.4 billion from just under US$7.3 billion.

Couche-Tard also announced its quarterly dividend will rise by one cent per share or 15 per cent to 7.75 cents Canadian, payable Aug. 4.