Refiner Valero Posts Record Profit

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Top U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) on Tuesday posted a 34 percent rise in net profits as the company continued to benefit from high refining margins and wider sour crude discounts.

The San Antonio, Texas-based company said net income rose to $847 million, or $3.06 per share, versus $633 million, or $2.28 per share, a year ago. Valero said the most recent quarter had the highest net income in its history.

Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates expected earnings per share of $3 in the quarter.

The results were largely in line with the company's own forecast provided last month, Credit Suisse First Boston analysts said in a research note.

"Overall the results look pretty much like the pre-announcement, with the addition of better retail results," CSFB said.

Shares of Valero were down 74 cents, or less than 1 percent, at $83.51 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).

Valero, which is awaiting regulatory approval for its planned $6.9 billion takeover of Premcor Inc. (search) , said that deal was still expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

Valero's refineries process mostly sour crude oil grades, which are priced well below the light, sweet crude oil prices that have hovered near $60 per barrel on the futures market in recent weeks.

The company said gasoline days-of-supply are at five-year lows because at current prices refiners have the incentive to maximize distillate production over gasoline.