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Valero Energy Spending More on Renewables; Third Quarter Results

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   |    Thursday,October 22,2020

Valero Energy reported its Q3 2020 results.

The company reported a net loss attributable to Valero stockholders of $464 million, or $1.14 per share, for the third quarter of 2020 compared to net income of $609 million, or $1.48 per share, for the third quarter of 2019.

Quick Read:

  • 40% of the money it is spending on growth projects in 2020-21 will now go into renewable diesel, up from an earlier estimate of 30%.
  • Q3 compared with $123M in the year-ago quarter as sales volumes rose 36% Y/Y to 870K gal/day.

Excluding the adjustments shown in the accompanying earnings release tables, the adjusted net loss attributable to Valero stockholders was $472 million, or $1.16 per share, for the third quarter of 2020, compared to third quarter 2019 adjusted net income attributable to Valero stockholders of $642 million, or $1.55 per share. Third quarter 2020 adjusted results primarily exclude the benefit from an after-tax lower of cost or market, or LCM, inventory valuation adjustment of $250 million and an after-tax loss of $218 million for an expected LIFO liquidation.

More Capital Shifting to Renewables 

Refining

The refining segment reported a $629 million operating loss for the third quarter of 2020 compared to operating income of $1.1 billion for the third quarter of 2019. Excluding the LCM inventory valuation adjustment, the expected LIFO liquidation adjustment, and other operating expenses, the third quarter 2020 adjusted operating loss was $575 million. Refinery throughput volumes averaged 2.5 million barrels per day in the third quarter of 2020, which was 428 thousand barrels per day lower than the third quarter of 2019.

"As the global economy recovers, we are pleased to see a demand recovery for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in the third quarter" said Joe Gorder, Valero Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Our unmatched execution, while being the lowest cost producer, and ample liquidity continue to position us well to manage a low margin environment."

Renewable Diesel

The renewable diesel segment reported $184 million of operating income for the third quarter of 2020 compared to $65 million for the third quarter of 2019. After adjusting for the retroactive blender's tax credit, renewable diesel operating income was $123 million for the third quarter of 2019. Renewable diesel sales volumes averaged 870 thousand gallons per day in the third quarter of 2020, an increase of 232 thousand gallons per day versus the third quarter of 2019. The third quarter of 2019 results and volumes were impacted by the planned downtime of the Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) plant for maintenance. DGD set a record for sales volumes in the third quarter of 2020.

Ethanol

The ethanol segment reported $22 million of operating income for the third quarter of 2020, compared to a $43 million operating loss for the third quarter of 2019. Third quarter 2020 adjusted operating income was $36 million. Ethanol production volumes averaged 3.8 million gallons per day in the third quarter of 2020, which was 206 thousand gallons per day lower than the third quarter of 2019. The increase in operating income was attributed primarily to higher margins resulting from lower corn prices.

Corporate and Other

General and administrative expenses were $186 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared to $217 million in the third quarter of 2019. The effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2020 was 47 percent, which was primarily impacted by an expected U.S. federal tax net operating loss that will be carried back to 2015 when the U.S. federal statutory tax rate was 35 percent.

Investing and Financing Activities

Capital investments totaled $517 million in the third quarter of 2020, of which $205 million was for sustaining the business, including costs for turnarounds, catalysts and regulatory compliance. Excluding capital investments attributable to our partner's 50 percent share of DGD and those related to other variable interest entities, capital investments attributable to Valero were $393 million.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $165 million in the third quarter of 2020. Included in this amount was a $246 million favorable impact from working capital, as well as our joint venture partner's share of DGD's net cash provided by operating activities, excluding changes in its working capital. Excluding these items, adjusted net cash used by operating activities was $177 million.

Valero returned $399 million to stockholders through dividends in the third quarter of 2020, resulting in a year-to-date total payout ratio of 165 percent of adjusted net cash provided by operating activities. The year-to-date total payout ratio is higher than our long-term target due to the adverse economic impact of COVID-19.

Valero continues to target a long-term total payout ratio between 40 and 50 percent of adjusted net cash provided by operating activities. 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 and DGD's net cash provided by operating activities, excluding changes in its working capital, attributable to our joint venture partner's ownership interest in DGD.

"The guiding principles underpinning our capital allocation strategy remain unchanged," said Gorder. "There has been absolutely no change in our strategy, which prioritizes our investment grade ratings, sustaining investments and honoring our dividend."

Liquidity and Financial Position

Valero ended the third quarter of 2020 with $15.2 billion of total debt and finance lease obligations and $4.0 billion of cash and cash equivalents. The debt to capitalization ratio, net of cash and cash equivalents, was 36 percent as of September 30, 2020.

Strategic Update

Capital investments attributable to Valero are forecasted at $2.0 billion per year in 2020 and 2021, of which approximately 60 percent is for sustaining the business and approximately 40 percent is for growth projects. Approximately 40 percent of Valero's 2020 and 2021 growth capital is allocated to expanding the renewable diesel business.

The new St. Charles Alkylation Unit, which is designed to convert low-value feedstocks into a premium alkylate product, is on track to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. The Diamond Pipeline expansion and the Pembroke Cogen project are expected to be completed in 2021 and the Port Arthur Coker project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Valero and its joint venture partner in DGD continue to pursue growth in the low-carbon renewable diesel business. The DGD plant expansion is still expected to be completed in 2021, and as previously announced, DGD continues to make progress on the advanced engineering and development cost review for a potential new 400 million gallons per year renewable diesel plant at Valero's Port Arthur, Texas facility. If the project is approved, operations are expected to commence in 2024, increasing DGD's production capacity to over 1.1 billion gallons annually.

"We remain steadfast in the execution of our strategy, pursuing excellence in operations, investing in earnings growth with lower volatility and honoring our commitment to shareholder returns," said Gorder.

 


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