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UPDATE 1-Marathon Petroleum profit helped by asset sale

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Marathon Petroleum Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, though results were helped by the sale of assets in Minnesota, but suffered in the company's core refining unit.

For the third quarter, the company posted net income of $1.22 billion, or $3.59 per share, compared with $1.13 billion, or $3.16 per share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted profit of $3.31 per share.

By that measure, analysts expected earnings of $3.23 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose to $21.25 billion from $20.65 billion.

Marathon Petroleum said operating profit fell about 1 percent in its refining unit to $1.69 billion, mostly due to higher crude oil costs.

Results were helped by a $183 million pre-tax gain the company recognized during the quarter related to the sale of a refinery and other assets in Minnesota in 2010.

Earlier this month the company agreed to pay $2.5 billion for BP Plc's Texas City refining complex.

Shares of the Findlay, Ohio-based company fell 2.1 percent to $$53.77 in Thursday morning trading. The stock has gained 62 percent so far this year.

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