UPDATE 2-Marathon Petroleum profit helped by asset sale

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Marathon Petroleum Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday due in part to asset sales, though earnings slipped 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.

Quarterly 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 percent to $53.85 in Thursday midday trading. The stock has gained 62 percent so far this year.