Valero’s fourth-quarter earnings jump

SAN ANTONIO — Valero Energy Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 30 percent, boosted by last year’s spinoff of its retail stations, the company said today.

San Antonio-based Valero reported net income of $1.3 billion, or $2.38 per share. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the company had net income of $1 billion, or $1.82 per share.

The company’s results easily beat analyst expectations.

Thomson Reuters recently polled analysts who had expected earnings of around $1.66 per share.

Valero, the nation’s largest independent refiner, spun off its retail stores, forming CST Brands, last spring.

Excluding the income from the CST spinoff, Valero earned $963 million, or $1.78 per share, in the fourth quarter.

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For 2013, the company had net income of $2.7 billion, or about $4.97 per share.

Valero’s ethanol segment was among several factors boosting income for the year. Following an operating loss in 2012, Valero’s ethanol segment had operating income of $491 million in 2013.

“Our refineries and ethanol plants ran well and at a high utilization rate in the fourth quarter,” Valero Chairman and CEO Bill Klesse said in a news release. “In refining, we took advantage of favorable crude oil discounts at most locations, while our ethanol business enjoyed high margins and set a record high for quarterly and annual operating income.”

Valero’s ethanol segment earned operating income of $269 million in the fourth quarter, up from $12 million in the same quarter the year prior, thanks in part to a drop in corn prices and tight ethanol inventories across the industry.

Valero executives held a call with analysts today.