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    Alon USA Expects Lower Earnings

    Higher crude oil prices and lower margins at refineries are the cause.

    DALLAS -- Oil refining and marketing company, Alon USA Energy Inc., which also operates more than 300 convenience stores in west Texas and New Mexico under the FINA and 7-Elven brands, forecast weak third quarter earnings, as a result of higher crude oil prices and lower refinery margins, Reuters reported.

    Third-quarter earnings for the company were estimated from 23 cents to 29 cents a share, while the analysts' average cited by Reuters was 71 cents a share before special items.

    The company said in a statement that third-quarter earnings were hurt by record crude oil prices, particularly in its asphalt segment, the report stated.

    Oil saw a record high yesterday, surpassing $93 a barrel as Mexico briefly halted one-fifth of its production and the dollar hit new lows, according to the report.

    Refinery operating margins at the company's California refineries are expected to be less than $2 per barrel, vs. about $10 per barrel in the second quarter, Reuters reported.

    Alon's third-quarter earnings will be released on Nov. 8, followed by a conference call to discuss the results.

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