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SAN RAMON, Calif. -- Profits at Chevron Corp.'s downstream division rocketed higher during its 2012 fiscal first quarter. The division -- parent to the company's convenience stores -- earned $804 million in its latest quarter, compared to a $622-million profit in the same quarter last year.
In the United States, Chevron's downstream division earned a profit of $459 million in its first quarter. In the same timeframe last year, the petroleum company made $442 million.
"We had lower operating expenses, better margins and asset sales that contributed to our higher downstream earnings," Jeanette Ourada, Chevron's general manager, investor relations, said during acompany conference call this morning.
Regarding the entire company, Chevron earned $6.5 billion for its latest quarter ending March 31, vs. a $6.2-billion profit during the company's 2011 fiscal first quarter.
"It was one of the best quarters we ever had," said Patricia Yarrington, Chevron's vice president and CFO, adding that Chevron is leading the industry regarding oil margins. According to the company, Chevron earns a profit margin of nearly $39 per barrel of oil sold.
Chevron also announced it will raise its dividend by 11 percent, beginning with its next payment in June. The California-based company has increased its dividend every year for the past 25 years and has paid a dividend for 100 consecutive years.