Energy Business

Valero, Marathon Earnings Continue to Impress

Oil refinery
Source: Thinkstock
Oil refiners Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) and Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) reported first-quarter 2013 results before markets opened this morning.

Marathon posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.17 on revenues of $23.35 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.71 on revenues of $20.28 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $2.16 and $19.8 billion in revenues.

Marathon’s refinery throughput rose from 1.32 million barrels a day in the first quarter of 2012 to 1.67 million barrels. Sales volume also rose, from 1.53 million barrels a day to 1.88 million barrels. Gross margins fell, however, from $8.36 a barrel last year to $7.92 a barrel. Total income rose $200 million year-over-year, from $956 million to $1.16 billion.

Valero posted EPS of $1.18 on revenues of $33.47 billion, compared with an EPS loss of $0.78 on revenues of $35.17 billion in 2011. The first-quarter 2012 results include a charge of $1.09 per share related to the closure of the company’s Aruba refinery. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $0.98 on revenues of $30.41 billion.

Like Marathon, Valero’s refinery throughput rose. Unlike Marathon, Valero’s gross margins also rose. Refining margins rose from $7.71 a barrel in the year-ago quarter to $10.59 this year. Total input volume rose by about 11,000 barrels a day year-over-year and total yield rose by 16,000 barrels a day.

Valero’s CEO said:

Despite a heavy turnaround and maintenance workload, our refineries had good performance that was aided by wider diesel margins and crude oil discounts plus contribution from our new hydrocracker at the Port Arthur refinery.

Valero also noted that it has restarted the three ethanol plants it had idled in the first quarter and that all 10 of the company’s ethanol plants were operating at near capacity. Ethanol income for the quarter totaled $14 million.

Valero has nearly completed the spin-off of its retail operations, which the company expects to bring to a conclusion on May 1. Valero will distribute 80% of the stock in the new company, called CST Brands Inc., to current shareholders and will dump the remaining 20% within 18 months. CST Brands will begin regular trading on the NYSE under the ticker symbol CST on May 2.

Marathon’s shares are trading up about 0.8% at $83.05 in the premarket this morning. The stock’s 52-week range is $33.65 to $92.73. Thomson Reuters had a consensus price target of around $95.00 before today’s results were announced.

Valero’s shares are up about 3.5%, at $42.65 in a 52-week range of $20.00 to $39.04. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $51.20 before today’s report.

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