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Tesoro Reports Highest Quarterly Profit Since 2007

(Corrects name of Marathon Petroleum Corp. in sixth paragraph of story published yesterday.)

Tesoro Corp. (TSO), the largest independent refiner on the U.S. West Coast, said its profit rose six-fold in the third quarter as it used more of its refining capacity and increased the profit margin for its products.

Net income rose to $345 million, or $2.39 a share, from $56 million, or 39 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2010, according to a company statement. The per-share results were 41 cents higher than the average of 18 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Tesoro, based in San Antonio, Texas, used 92 percent of its refining capacity in the quarter, and its earnings were the highest since the second quarter of 2007, the statement said. The company’s revenue rose 52 percent to $8.1 billion during the quarter.

Refiners have reported higher profits this year as they take advantage of low-priced crude, high demand for diesel exports and a decline in refining capacity.

The crack spread, a measure of the difference between the cost of the crude and the price at which refiners can sell fuel, averaged $32.54 a barrel during the quarter based on New York Mercantile Exchange prices, compared with $8.60 in the year- earlier quarter.

Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) reported yesterday that its third- quarter profit quadrupled to $1.2 billion, or $2.11 a share, from $292 million, or 53 cents a share, a year earlier. Marathon Petroleum Corp. also said its profit quadrupled, to $1.13 billion, or $3.16 a share from the previous year.

The statement was released after the the close of trading in U.S. stock markets. Tesoro rose 3.6 percent to $28 at 7:08 p.m. in late-market trading after gaining 5.7% before the close of trading in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Lee in Dallas at mlee326@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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