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    Speedway Looks to Acquire More Stores

    Marathon Petroleum CEO says it will not spin off the retail division.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    FINDLAY, Ohio -- Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) is considering more convenience store acquisitions and also plans to make more organic investments in its Speedway LLC business, CEO Gary R. Heminger said during the company's second-quarter earnings conference call today.

    When questioned during the call about whether MPC would buy Sunoco's gas stations, which media reports say are likely to be sold by new owner Energy Transfer Partners LP, Heminger said he could not comment on any potential acquisition, but did note that MPC would remain "disciplined" and any retail purchase must be "synergistic" with its current business.

    He also stressed that MPC has no intention to spin off or sell its Speedway retail division -- something its competitor Valero Energy Corp. announced it would do today.

    "We will continue to look at those things, but at this time, our goal and objective is to remain an integrated business," said Heminger.

    "At the moment, we think our present configuration is the best for our shareholders."

    Speedway delivered strong results during MPC's 2012 fiscal second quarter. The convenience store chain earned a net profit of $107 million, compared to $80 million in its 2011 second quarter. The company credited stronger merchandise, gasoline and distillate gross margins for Speedway's improved results.

    "Speedway continues to deliver excellent results," Heminger said during the earnings call.

    The chain's same-store merchandise sales increased 2.2 percent in the second quarter of 2012, vs. a 0.3-percent increase in last year's second quarter. Same-store gasoline sales volume increased 2.1 percent in the 2012 second quarter, compared to a 4.5-percent decline in the same quarter last year.

    According to Heminger, the highlight for this quarter was closing on its purchase of 87 GasAmerica convenience stores and gas stations.

    As for the entire company, MPC earned a net profit of $814 million, a 7-percent increase vs. its $802 million profit in last year's second quarter.

    Heminger noted that MPC filed paperwork on July 2 to spin off its midstream assets into a master limited partnership (MLP). The company hopes to file for an initial public offering (IPO) of the division, called MPLX LP, which would own, operate and develop midstream assets.

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to review the filing.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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