(STL.News) – Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE: VLO, “Valero”) today reported net income attributable to Valero stockholders of $609 million, or $1.48 per share, for the third quarter of 2019 compared to $856 million, or $2.01 per share, for the third quarter of 2018.
“We delivered another quarter of solid financial results despite challenging market conditions,” said Joe Gorder, Valero Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our simple strategy of striving to be the best operator in the business, investing to drive earnings growth with lower volatility and maintaining capital discipline with an uncompromising focus on shareholder returns has proven to be successful and positions us well for any market environment.”
The refining segment reported $1.1 billion of operating income for the third quarter of 2019 compared to $1.4 billion for the third quarter of 2018. The decrease was primarily driven by narrower crude oil discounts to Brent crude oil.
“Fourth quarter market conditions look favorable with improved gasoline and distillate cracks and wider discounts for medium and heavy sour crude oils,” Gorder said. “We expect to see continued product strength with inventories at lower levels and sour crude weakness resulting from the IMO low sulfur fuel oil mandate, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020.”
Refinery throughput capacity utilization was 94 percent, with throughput volumes averaging 2.95 million barrels per day in the third quarter of 2019. The company processed 190 thousand barrels per day of Canadian heavy crude oil and exported a total of 331 thousand barrels per day of gasoline and distillate during the third quarter of 2019.
The ethanol segment reported a $43 million operating loss for the third quarter of 2019, compared to $21 million of operating income for the third quarter of 2018. The decrease in operating income was attributed primarily to higher corn prices. Ethanol production volumes averaged 4.0 million gallons per day in the third quarter of 2019.
The renewable diesel segment reported $65 million of operating income for the third quarter of 2019 compared to a $5 million operating loss for the third quarter of 2018. Renewable diesel sales volumes averaged 638 thousand gallons per day in the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 387 thousand gallons per day versus the third quarter of 2018. The third quarter of 2018 operating results and sales volumes were impacted by the planned downtime of the Diamond Green Diesel plant as part of completing an expansion project.
Corporate and Other
General and administrative expenses were $217 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared to $209 million in the third quarter of 2018. The effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2019 was 21 percent, compared to 24 percent for the third quarter of 2018.
Investing and Financing Activities
Capital investments totaled $525 million in the third quarter of 2019, of which $305 million was for sustaining the business, including costs for turnarounds, catalysts and regulatory compliance.
Valero returned $679 million to stockholders in the third quarter of 2019, of which $372 million was paid as dividends and $307 million was for the purchase of approximately 3.9 million shares of common stock, resulting in a total payout ratio of 61 percent of adjusted net cash provided by operating activities.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $1.4 billion in the third quarter of 2019. Included in this amount is a $315 million favorable impact from working capital. Excluding the change in working capital, adjusted net cash provided by operating activities was $1.1 billion.
Valero continues to target a total payout ratio between 40 and 50 percent of adjusted net cash provided by operating activities for 2019. Valero defines total payout ratio as the sum of dividends and stock buybacks divided by net cash provided by operating activities adjusted for changes in working capital.
Liquidity and Financial Position
Valero ended the third quarter of 2019 with $9.6 billion of total debt and $2.1 billion of cash and cash equivalents. The debt to capital ratio, net of $2 billion in cash, was 26 percent.
The Central Texas Pipelines and Terminals project was successfully completed in the third quarter of 2019. This project reduces secondary costs and extends Valero’s supply chain from the Gulf Coast to a higher demand market to maximize product margins. Other projects, including the Pasadena terminal, St. Charles alkylation unit, and Pembroke cogeneration unit, remain on track to be complete in 2020. The company expects the Diamond Green Diesel expansion and Port Arthur Coker to be complete in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
In September, Valero and its joint venture partner announced that they have initiated an advanced engineering and development cost review for a new renewable diesel plant at Valero’s Port Arthur, Texas facility. If the project is approved, construction would begin in 2021, with expected operations commencing in 2024, which would result in Diamond Green Diesel production capacity increasing to over 1.1 billion gallons annually.
Valero continues to expect to invest approximately $2.5 billion of capital in both 2019 and 2020, of which approximately 60 percent is for sustaining the business and approximately 40 percent is for growth projects.
Valero’s senior management will hold a conference call at 10 a.m. ET today to discuss this earnings release and to provide an update on operations and strategy.