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Tesoro Hits Four-Year High on Profit and Buybacks: Houston Mover

Tesoro Corp., the largest independent refiner on the U.S. West Coast, rose to the highest level in more than four years as profit surged 78 percent and the company announced a $500 million share buyback plan.

Tesoro climbed 14 percent to $31.79 at the close in New York, the biggest jump since Nov. 21, 2008, and the highest price since April 2, 2008. Second-quarter net income rose to $387 million, or $2.75 a share, from $218 million, or $1.52, a year earlier, San Antonio-based Tesoro said in a statement today. Per-share profit was 61 cents more than the average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Gregory Goff today said the company will reinstate a 12-cent quarterly dividend, reduce debt, buy back $500 million in shares and sell pipeline assets into a master-limited partnership it controls. The planned sale could generate as much as $450 million, Deutsche Bank AG analyst Paul Sankey said in a note today to clients.

“Greg Goff delivered another outstanding result,” said Sankey, who is based in New York and rates Tesoro the equivalent of a buy.

Tesoro didn’t set a time frame for the buybacks, according to the statement.

With refineries in North Dakota, Utah and Washington that have access to U.S.-produced oil that trades at a discount to global varieties, Tesoro has seen its value more than double since Goff took over on May 1, 2010. The month before, a chemical blast at the company’s Anacortes, Washington, plant killed seven workers, the deadliest U.S. refinery accident since 2005.

The crack spread, a measure of refining profitability, averaged $29.05 a barrel for companies that have plants near new U.S. crude production. That was the highest total ever in the April-to-June period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Independent refiners don’t explore for or produce oil.

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