Monday, February 6, 2012

NuStar Energy 4Q net down 53 percent; NuStar GP profit up 24 percent

NuStar Energy L.P.'s (NYSE: NS) fourth-quarter earnings fell 53 percent on weakness in its asphalt and fuels marketing business, while NuStar GP Holdings LLC (NSH), which holds a general- and limited-partner interest in NuStar Energy, reported 24 percent higher income.

The pipeline-and-storage firm, which is also one of the largest U.S. asphalt companies, is poised to take advantage of growing oil production in and around its home turf of Texas as major producers look to raise money and concentrate on their upstream businesses.

NuStar Energy has said it would most likely go on a buying spree as larger oil and gas companies strip themselves of pipeline and terminal assets.

NuStar reported a profit of $19.8 million, or 30 cents a unit, down from $41.9 million, or 65 cents a unit, a year earlier. Revenue increased 61 percent to $1.93 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast earnings of 35 cents on revenue of $1.16 billion.

Operating margin narrowed to 2.5 percent from 5.9 percent.

The storage segment's operating profit was up 12 percent and revenue rose 12 percent.

Operating profit rose 0.6 percent at the transportation segment on higher revenue of 2.2 percent. The asphalt and fuels marketing business saw 73percent higher sales, while its swung to a loss of $12.5 million from a profit of $15.7 million a year earlier, amid higher input and operating costs.

Meanwhile, NuStar GP's profit rose to $19 million, or 45 cents a unit, from $15.3 million, or 35 cents a unit, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings of 31 cents a share.

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