Valero Crushes Estimates, On Track for New Yearly High

Oil refinery
Oil refinery

Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) reported fourth-quarter and full-year results before markets opened this morning. For the quarter, the oil refiner posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.82 on revenues of $34.69 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.08 on revenues of $34.67 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.18 and $31.01 billion in revenues.

For the full year, Valero posted adjusted EPS of $3.75 on revenues of $139.25 billion, compared with EPS of $3.69 on revenues of $125.99 billion in 2011. The full-year 2012 results include a charge of $1.77 per share for a noncash impairment charge and a charge of $0.07 per share related to the closure of the company's Aruba refinery. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $4.84 on revenues of $133.72 billion.

The company's CEO said:

[W]e replaced all imported light foreign crude oils with cheaper domestic crude oils at our Gulf Coast and Memphis refineries. Since we expect U.S. and Canadian crude oils to become increasingly more available, we are pursuing options to process additional volumes of these cost-advantaged crudes throughout our refining system.

Valero's announcement did not include a forecast for 2013, but the consensus estimates call for first-quarter EPS of $0.81 on revenues of $28.21 billion and full-year EPS of $5.19 on revenues of $128.33 billion. In light of Valero's fourth-quarter performance and its increased access to cheaper North American crude oil, those estimates are very likely to rise.

One area of concern could be the company's ethanol business. Operating income fell from $181 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to just $12 million. Valero attributed the lower income to high corn prices and high inventory levels of ethanol combined with lower demand for fuel.

The company expects to complete the spin-off of its retail operations in the second quarter of 2013. 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 of the completion of the spin-off.

Valero's shares are up more than 7% in premarket trading at $41.64, a new 52-week high if it holds. The current 52-week range is $20.00 to $39.04. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $41.95 before today's report.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities, Earnings, Oil & Gas Tagged: VLO