Fuel price spikes bounce Murphy USA earnings

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 289 views 

Revenue and profits slipped slightly for Murphy USA Inc. as fuel price spikes altered the company’s profit margins. The El Dorado-based gas and convenience store operator reported earnings for the fourth quarter and full year on Wednesday (Jan. 29).

Net income for the fourth quarter was $47.6 million on revenue of $3.46 billion compared to $77.5 million on revenues of $3.5 billion one year ago. Earnings per share was $1.54 compared to $2.38 in last year’s fourth quarter.

For the full year, Murphy USA reported profits of $154.8 million versus $213.6 million in 2018. Revenue in 2019 topped $14.034 billion compared to $114.363 billion one year ago. Full year earnings per share in 2019 were $4.85 compared to $6.48 in the previous year.

“Our Q4 results rounded out an exceptional 2019, where Murphy USA’s strategic initiatives drove higher per store fuel volumes, record merchandise contribution and better new store performance while maintaining our cost leadership position,” said President and CEO Andrew Clyde. “We expect earnings growth and other share price drivers that we control to continue as we enter 2020 with momentum along with a strong balance sheet and leadership team.”

Other key highlights included:

– Total retail gallons decreased 1.6% during Q4 2019 and volumes on a same store sales basis decreased 3.4%, while for the year, retail gallons increased 3.4% to 4.4 billion gallons and increased 1.2% on a same store basis.

– Merchandise contribution dollars grew 3.0% during Q4 2019 to $105.2 million. For the current year, merchandise contribution dollars were up 4.8% to $419.4 million on average unit margins of 16.0%.

– During Q4 2019, 10 new stores opened and 10 raze-and-rebuild sites re-opened. For the year, 17 new stores were opened and in addition, 27 raze-and-rebuild locations re-opened. Murphy USA’s year-end store count was 1,489.

Murphy USA (NYSE: MUSA) shares closed trading on Wednesday at $113.02. The company’s stock has traded between a low of $72.07 and a high of $121.24 over the past 52 weeks.