Tesoro posts quarterly profit

San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp. swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, but its earnings were diminished by a charge related to its decision to close its refinery in Hawaii.

The independent refiner said fourth-quarter net income was $27 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with a loss of $124 million, or 89 cents a share, for the year-earlier period.

Tesoro said it took an impairment charge of $228 million in the quarter as a result of its decision to stop production at its Hawaii refinery and convert it to an import, storage and distribution terminal.

The company also said it logged after-tax expenses of 6 cents a share related to “transaction costs” for its planned acquisition of BP’s refining and marketing business in Southern California.

When special items are excluded, Tesoro earned $190 million, or $1.34 a share.

The results missed analysts’ estimates, as polled by Bloomberg, that Tesoro would earn $1.39 a share. Analysts usually don’t consider special charges.

Revenue climbed to $8.3 billion, compared with $7.7 billion for the quarter a year ago.

Tesoro’s shares closed at $51.16, up 93 cents, or 1.85 percent, in New York Stock Exchange trading. The company’s results were released after the market closed.

“Our solid operating performance allowed us to capture strong crack spreads and report record fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share,” CEO Greg Goff said.

The company said it benefited from “more attractive heavy crude oil discounts on the West Coast.”

Stacey Hudson, a senior research associate at Raymond James & Associates’ Houston office, said Tesoro’s quarter overall was “solid.”

But she said the company “may get criticized a bit because most refiners that have already reported earnings beat estimates,” including Valero Energy Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp.

For the full year, Tesoro reported a profit of $743 million, or $5.25 a share, compared with a profit of $546 million, or $3.81 a share, for 2011.

Goff said that in 2012, Tesoro “continued to demonstrate our ability to drive fundamental improvements in the business while reporting the highest adjusted earnings in the company’s history.”

Goff said the company completed three of five big capital projects at its refineries in 2012 and that it added 225 retail stations during the year.

Also Wednesday, Tesoro said it increased its dividend to 20 cents a share from 15 cents, effective March 15.