Murphy USA Inc.'s chief executive said the company was pleased with the third-quarter profit and revenue it reported on Wednesday, even though the numbers were lower compared to last year's blow-out quarter.
The El Dorado-based convenience store and gas station chain posted net income of $167.7 million, or $7.69 per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared to net income of $219.5 million, or $9.28 per share, in the same quarter last year.
The company's per-share earnings beat the average estimate of $6.18 forecast by seven analysts.
Revenue fell 6.5% from last year's third quarter, to $5.8 billion
"On a two-year stack basis, Murphy USA demonstrated industry-leading fuel volume and tobacco gains, while current-year fuel margins highlight the sustainability of elevated industry margins in a less volatile setting," said Andrew Clyde, the company's president and chief executive officer.
"Momentum carried through to October, especially at QuickChek, where new promotions and initiatives have contributed to record food and beverage profits," Clyde said.
The total gallons of fuel sold in the third quarter declined 2.5% compared to the same period last year.
Total merchandise sales rose slightly, to $1.1 billion from $1 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year crept up 1.3%.
Same-store sales are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health.
The company revised its guidance in some areas for 2023.
Murphy USA now expects to open 27 to 30 new stores this year, down from the original guidance of "up to 45." The company said it changed the forecast because of "ongoing challenges in permitting new sites, contractor delays and other supply chain hurdles."
With the delays in new store growth deferring some growth capital into 2024, Murphy USA now expects capital expenditures to range between $325 million and $375 million instead of the previous forecast of $375 million to $425 million.
The company owned 1,724 stores as of Sept. 30. Most are near a Walmart Inc. Supercenter.
Murphy USA's board of directors on Oct. 26 declared a quarterly cash dividend of 41 cents per share of common stock, up 5.1% from the second quarter. The dividend is payable on Dec. 1 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 6.
The company bought back about 201,100 shares at an average price of $325 per share in the third quarter, for a total of $65.36 million.
Murphy USA's shares gained $2.67, or 0.74%, on Wednesday to close at $365.36 on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares have traded between $231.65 and $372.63 in the past year.
The company released its earnings report after the stock markets closed.
Company executives will discuss the quarter's results in a conference call at 10 a.m. today. Anyone wishing to participate may dial 1-888-330-2384 and use conference ID number 6680883.
The call may also be accessed through a webcast on the company's investor relations page at http://ir.corporate.murphyusa.com. The webcast will be available for replay one hour after the call ends, with a transcript released shortly afterward.