Ethanol Station Sale Boosts Murphy USA 4Q Income

Murphy Oil USA Inc. of El Dorado on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $93.6 million, up from $19 million during the same quarter of 2012.

Earnings for the publicly traded gas station chain were $2 per diluted share, up from 41 cents in 2012. Earnings came on revenue of $4.19 billion, down from $4.89 billion in 2012.

Broken down, $3.58 billion of Murphy USA's sales came from selling fuel; $533 million from merchandise and $72 million from ethanol and other.

A big chunk of the year-over-year gain came as the company sold an ethanol plant in Hankinson, N.D., during the quarter for $173 million. The deal generated a $52.5 million gain on the sale. The buyer was Guardian Hankinson LLC.

"In completing the sale of the Hankinson ethanol plant for a premium price, we delivered on our commitment to rationalize non-core assets," CEO Andrew Clyde said in a news release. "We continue to see non-tobacco growth expand through our innovative promotions and larger stores."

Muprhy USA said income from continuing operations was $29.5 million, or 63 cents per share, up from $18.1 million, or 39 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Murphy added 18 stores in its quarter for a total of 39 added in 2013, with an additional five opened since the end of 2013 and 15 more under construction. Of those 18 stores, 14 were of the company's new 1,200-SF format, and one was its milestone 1,200th store, which opened in El Dorado in December.

This quarter was Murphy USA's second as a standalone company; it spun off of Murphy Oil in September.