Why Phillips 66 Earnings, Revenues Soared

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Oil refiner Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) reported third-quarter 2018 results before markets opened Friday. The petroleum refiner reported adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.10, compared with EPS a year ago of $1.66. Revenue totaled $30.59 billion, compared with year-ago quarterly revenue of $26.21 billion. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $2.45 on revenues of $29.88 billion.

On a GAAP basis, Phillips 66 posted quarterly EPS of $3.18 on income of $1.57 billion. Adjusted net income totaled $1.53 billion.

The company’s refining segment posted adjusted earnings of $959 million in the third quarter that Phillips said was largely driven by higher realized refining margins in the Central Corridor, partially offset by declines in realized margins in the Gulf Coast and West Coast regions.

The company’s Central Corridor refineries received a huge benefit from the crude oil price differential between West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Western Canadian Select (WCS). Phillips 66’s indicator price for WTI in the quarter was $69.71 a barrel while the discount per barrel of WCS was $27.88. The discount has widened even more during the month of October: WTI traded for $66.60 a barrel Friday morning, compared to $15.08 for WCS. That differential is bigger than huge.

Central Corridor net income for the quarter rose from $197 million a year ago to $627 million. Gulf Coast refinery net income also more than doubled, from $67 million a year ago to $158 million.

CEO and board chair, Greg Garland, said:

We demonstrated the value of our integrated portfolio, delivering strong earnings and advancing strategic growth projects in the third quarter. …  Over the last six years, we have repurchased or exchanged nearly 30 percent of our initial shares outstanding, contributing to record adjusted earnings per share this quarter. We continued our commitment to shareholder distributions, returning $775 million through dividends and share repurchases in the third quarter and $5.2 billion for the year. We believe strong shareholder distributions remain fundamental to disciplined capital allocation.

Capital spending and investments in the quarter totaled $779 million, more than double last year’s spending. Capex and investments for the first nine months of the total $1.65 billion, about 27% more Phillips 66 spent in the same period last year.

The company did not offer guidance in its press release. Analysts have estimated fourth-quarter EPS of $1.84 and revenue of $30.05 billion. For the full year, the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $8.13 and revenue of $117.3 billion.

Shares of Phillips 66 closed up about 3.4% on Thursday at $98.49 and traded up about 3.6% Friday morning at $102.00. The stock’s 52-week range is $89.14 to $123.97. The 12-month consensus price target for the shares was $129.80 before this morning’s report.