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EL DORADO, Ark. — Murphy USA Inc. is shifting directions regarding its Wal-Mart Stores Inc. relationship and eyeing more independent growth in the future.
The El Dorado-based convenience store chain announced Walmart will now have the ability to develop a proprietary gasoline program for its supercenter locations that are not currently supplied by Murphy USA. The c-store operator stressed, however, that it will continue to “work closely with Walmart on existing Murphy USA locations and anticipates further collaboration opportunities in the future.”
Meanwhile, Murphy USA will continue to build Murphy Express branded stores at locations acquired from third parties, and invest in the large store format it's developed that will “allow for higher-impact growth from new locations going forward.” To support this expansion, Murphy USA stated it will continue to invest in and grow its midstream positions.
"Since our spin [from Murphy Oil Corp.], we have strategically positioned Murphy USA to be a strong, independent company that can achieve a high level of organic growth and shareholder returns with or without another large acquisition of store locations from Walmart," said Andrew Clyde, Murphy USA president and CEO. "Through our existing store pipeline; growing third-party land bank; our business improvement initiatives that enhance our core fuels business and differentiated retail capabilities; and the strength of our balance sheet, Murphy USA will continue to grow our base of value-seeking customers independently in both new and existing target markets with great clarity and confidence.”
Murphy USA also announced it will “pursue new additional growth opportunities” and undertake a $500-million share repurchase program under two separate capital programs to take place through Dec. 31, 2017. The exact timing of the share repurchases will depend on a number of factors, including general stock market conditions.
Murphy USA will use its balance-sheet flexibility, operating cash flow and proceeds from the sale of non-core assets to fund the repurchase program.
“Our share repurchase plan is a reflection of our confidence in the future and a commitment to maximizing shareholder value,” said Clyde.
Murphy USA Inc. operates more than 1,300 convenience stores and gas stations in 24 states.