Sunoco Posts Profit Despite Drop in Demand


Oil refiner Sunoco said that despite a drop off in demand, it posted a first-quarter profit due to leaner operations.

The company said late Wednesday its quarterly earnings rose to $12 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $59 million, or 50 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2008.

Excluding special items, first-quarter adjusted earnings totaled $59 million, or 50 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 34 cents per share, on average. Analysts typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue declined 49 percent to $6.44 billion, from $12.81 billion in the prior-year period. Analysts forecast an average revenue of $12.77 billion.

Lynn Elsenhans, the company's chief executive, said she continues to expect economic weakness and global supply to weigh on petroleum and chemical products. She said the company plans to cut costs by more than $300 million on an annualized basis by year-end. Sunoco also slashed its full-year capital spending budget to $1.05 billion, compared with an earlier estimate of $1.25 billion.

Shares of the company were down more than 4 percent Thursday.