Suncor Profit Tops Estimates as Refining Arm Blunts Crude Woes

(Bloomberg) -- Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest energy producer by market value, posted third-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as its refining operations helped it weather lower prices for oil-sands crude.

  • Profit was 96 Canadian cents a share, excluding some items. The average of 16 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 92 cents.

Key Insights

  • Because of its refining operations and Petro-Canada gas stations, Suncor has been largely immune to the widening discounts for Canadian crude that have hurt some of its rivals.
  • Syncrude, the 350,000-barrel-a-day plant that’s majority owned by Suncor, is now back at normal operating rates after going down in late June because of a transformer issue that knocked out power to the facility.
  • Suncor’s increasing cash flow has largely allayed investors’ concerns over Syncrude’s reliability. The company on Thursday reported funds from operations of C$3.14 billion, a new quarterly record.
  • Suncor also has benefited from increased production from its new Fort Hills mine, a C$17 billion project with a full capacity of 194,000 barrels a day. The project reached 90 percent of nameplate capacity after the end of the third quarter, meeting a target of hitting that level this year.

Market Reaction

  • Share rose to as high as $34 in New York in after-hours trading, after closing at $33.31.

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