Valero reports solid Q3 results in refining, ethanol volumes up

By Staff Report | October 30, 2015

Valero Energy Corp. reported overall third quarter net income from continuing operations of $1.4 billion, or $2.79 per share, compared to $1.1 billion, or $2.00 per share, in the third quarter of 2014.

The ethanol segment generated third quarter 2015 operating income of $35 million compared to $198 million in the third quarter of 2014.  The $163 million decrease in operating income was mainly due to lower gross margin per gallon driven primarily by a decline in ethanol prices.  Average ethanol production volumes were 3.9 million gallons per day in the third quarter of 2015, an increase of 297,000 gallons per day versus the third quarter of 2014, primarily due to incremental production volumes from the Mount Vernon plant, which was acquired in 2014 and began operating in August 2014.

In the tables accompanying the earnings report, the company reported a Q3 gross margin of 47 cents per gallon of ethanol produced, operating expenses and depreciation of 37 cents, for a net operating income per gallon of 10 cents for the quarter, compared to 60 cent net operating in the same period a year ago. The gross margin for the first three quarters of the year was 51 cents per gallon, with an operating income per gallon of 15 cents. That compares with last year’s gross margin of $1.13 for the first three quarters and operating income of 69 cents.

The refining segment generated third quarter 2015 operating income of $2.3 billion compared to $1.7 billion in the third quarter of 2014. The $631 million increase in operating income primarily resulted from a $2.57 increase in throughput margin per barrel from $11.81 in the third quarter of 2014 to $14.38 in the third quarter of 2015, driven mainly by stronger gasoline and other product margins.  Partially offsetting these factors were lower distillate margins and discounts for most sweet and sour crude oils relative to Brent crude oil.

Third quarter 2015 refining throughput volumes averaged 2.8 million barrels per day, which was in line with the third quarter of 2014.  Valero's refineries operated at 96 percent throughput capacity utilization in the third quarter of 2015.  The company delivered export volumes of 330 thousand barrels per day, a record for a third quarter.

"With strong product margins and healthy demand, we delivered solid results this quarter," said Joe Gorder, Valero chairman, president and CEO, in the earnings statement.  "We are seeing good seasonal demand for our products in the fourth quarter."

The Valero board of directors approved a 25 percent increase in the regular quarterly cash dividend on common stock from 40 cents to 50 cents per share, effective with the quarterly dividend payable on Dec. 17.  The increase in the dividend raises the company's annualized cash dividend to $2.00 per share.

"So far this year, we've invested $1.7 billion into our business, increased our dividend over 80 percent, and more than doubled our buyback total," Gorder said. "We had solid operations and made great strides on strategic investments including the crude unit projects at Corpus Christi and Houston." The company expects the Corpus Christi and Houston crude units to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015, and the first half of 2016, respectively.

Valero subsidiaries employ approximately 10,000 people, and its assets include 15 petroleum refineries with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 2.9 million barrels per day, 11 ethanol plants with a combined production capacity of 1.3 billion gallons per year, a 50-megawatt wind farm, and renewable diesel production from a joint venture, along with Valero Energy Partners LP.  Approximately 7,400 outlets carry the Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Shamrock, and Beacon brands in the United States and the Caribbean; Ultramar in Canada; and Texaco in the United Kingdom and Ireland.