Gasoline and convenience retail chain Murphy USA (NYSE: MUSA) of El Dorado announced strong sales and a $106 million profit in its report of first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.
Net income for the three months that ended March 31 was $106 million, down 30.3% from $152 million in the first quarter of 2022, but its earnings per share and revenue of $5.07 billion both beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts.
In a news release, the company highlighted the total contribution that fuel sales reflected in the quarter even though per-gallon gasoline prices were some 90 cents higher in early 2022 than they were this year.
Total retail gallons sold increased 4.9% over last year, and merchandise dollars were up 6.5% to $187 million. The company also announced it had repurchased nearly 50,000 shares during the quarter, spending $13.7 million at an average price of $279.67 a share.
Murphy USA President and CEO Andrew Clyde called the company’s first-quarter performance "exceptional." In a statement, he said the results "aligned with our high expectations and future value creation potential."
"All-in fuel margins of 28.9 cents per gallon support our view of structurally higher industry margins, and were complemented by continued volume growth and share gains," Clyde continued. "Strong fuel performance and robust customer traffic drove meaningful year-over-year growth inside the stores, translating to strong merchandise performance.
"With new investments underway to help better serve our customers and grow future earnings, we believe the next five years of high-return organic growth, strong fundamentals and resulting free cash flow make a compelling case for continued share repurchase, as evidenced by our announcement of a new up to $1.5 billion authorization following the completion of our $1 billion program, which we expect to finish in 2023."
Murphy USA’s shares were up Tuesday, closing at $276.14 on the New York Stock Exchange. The quarterly results were announced after the bell, and the stock price was up to as much as $298 in overnight trading.
The company attributed its lower net income and EBITDA numbers during the quarter to "lower total fuel contribution and increases in store operating expenses, general and administrative expenses, and payment fees."
The company's board of directors recently authorized a new share repurchase authorization of up to $1.5 billion to be executed by December 31, 2028. "The new authorization reaffirms the Company's commitment to supplement organic growth initiatives with shareholder distributions, including our dividend growth plan, to maximize value creation over time," the news release said.