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Marathon (MPC) Q3 Loss Narrower Than Expected, Sales Miss

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Independent oil refiner and marketer Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC - Free Report) reported adjusted loss of $1 per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.63. The company’s bottom line was favorably impacted by strong-than-expected performance from both the segments. Operating income from the Refining & Marketing and Midstream units totaled a loss of $1.6 billion and profit of $960 million, ahead of the respective Zacks Consensus Estimates of a loss of $2 billion and a profit of $888 million, respectively.

However, the bottom line compared unfavorably the year-earlier quarter's earnings of $1.63 due to sharply lower refining margins.

Marathon Petroleum reported revenues of $17.5 billion that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $19.9 billion and declined 36.6% year over year.

Forced by the historic oil market crash and the coronavirus-induced demand destruction for the fuel, Marathon Petroleum has already announced a cut to its 2020 capital spending plan by $1.4 billion, or 30%, to $3 billion. The company is also targeting a reduction in its operating expenses to $950 million. Marathon Petroleum said that it is on track to surpass both objectives.

Marathon Petroleum, which has applied for permits for the conversion of its Martinez petroleum refinery into a renewable diesel facility in response to the collapsing product demand, expects the sale of its Speedway business to Japanese retail group Seven & i Holdings to conclude by Mar 31, 2021


Marathon Petroleum Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Marathon Petroleum Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Marathon Petroleum Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Marathon Petroleum Corporation Quote


Y/Y Segmental Performance

Refining & Marketing: The Refining & Marketing segment reported operating loss of $1.6 million, as against income of $989 million in the year-ago quarter. The deterioration reflects lower y/y margins.

Specifically, refining margin of $8.28 per barrel decreased significantly versus $15.11 a year ago. Total refined product sales volumes were 3,201 thousand barrels per day (mbpd), down from the 3,706 mbpd in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, throughput fell from 3,156 mbpd in the year-ago quarter to 2,536 mbpd though it beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 2,378 mbpd. Capacity utilization during the quarter was down 14% year over year to 84%.

Midstream: This unit mainly reflects Marathon Petroleum’s general partner and majority limited partner interests in MPLX LP (MPLX - Free Report) – a publicly traded master limited partnerships that own, operate, develop and acquire pipelines and other midstream assets.

Segment profitability was $960 million, 4.5% higher than the third quarter of 2019. Earnings were supported by table, fee-based revenues, lower operating expenses, plus contribution from organic growth projects.

Costs, Capex & Balance Sheet

Marathon Petroleum reported expenses of $18.6 billion in third-quarter 2020, down 28.5% from the year-ago quarter.

In the reported quarter, Marathon Petroleum spent $668 million on capital programs (38% on Refining & Marketing and 45% on the Midstream segment) compared to $1.6 billion in the year-ago period. As of Sep 30, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $716 million and a total debt of $32 billion, with a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 52.1%.

Zacks Rank & Stock Picks

Marathon Petroleum holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked players in the energy space are Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation and Holly Energy Partners, L.P. that sport a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Over 30 days, Cabot Oil & Gas has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 improve 6.9%.  

Over 30 days, Holly Energy Partners has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 improve 1.1%

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