Thursday, February 2, 2017

Marathon Petroleum earnings blast past forecasts

Marathon Petroleum

Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings and revenue surged past expectations, the latest indication that the energy sector could be recovering.

Shares of the company climbed 2% in premarket trading to $49.

Many energy analysts have been raising their oil-price projections for the first time in nearly half a year, as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has trimmed output by more than 1 million barrels a day.

Marathon reported a quarterly profit of $227 million, or 43 cents a share, up from $187 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue improved 10.7% to $17.28 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 26 cents a share on revenue of $14.54 billion.

Last month, Marathon announced plans to accelerate so-called drop-down deals and conduct a strategic review of its Speedway assets, months after hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. raised concerns with the energy company.

Marathon said it would significantly accelerate a drop-down of assets with about $1.4 billion of annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to MPLX LP, a master limited partnership formed by Marathon Petroleum to buy, develop and operate midstream assets.

The company also said a special committee of its board would conduct a review of Speedway, its brand of company-owned and operated convenience stores and gas stations.

Austen Hufford contributed to this article

Write to Ezequiel Minaya at

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