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    Suncor Net Income Rises on Petro-Canada Buy

    Integration efforts between the companies already yielding "significant efficiencies," said company chief.

    CALGARY, Alberta -- Despite a drop in crude oil prices, Suncor Energy Inc., Canada's largest oil company, saw its third-quarter profit rise 14 percent, which reflected its acquisition of Calgary-based rival and convenience store operator Petro-Canada earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported.

    Net income increased to C$929 million ($873 million U.S.) from C$815 million a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said in a statement cited by Bloomberg News. Excluding one-time items, profit was 23 cents a share, 5 cents short of the average of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg News. Revenue was steady at C$8.44 billion, according to the report.

    Suncor in August completed its C$19.2 billion purchase of Petro-Canada, marking the biggest Canadian energy takeover to date. The acquisition is expected to save more than C$1 billion in capital costs and C$300 million in operational expenditures per year, according to the company.

    "This was a milestone quarter in Suncor's history and a very productive one," Chief Executive Officer Rick George said in the statement cited by Bloomberg News. "The integration work we've completed in just a little over three months is already yielding some significant efficiencies."

    The company plans to sell some natural-gas assets by the end of next year, in an effort to focus on crude projects such as Alberta's oil sands. Planned sales are scheduled for Western Canada, the U.S. Rockies, Trinidad and Tobago and the North Sea, Suncor said.

    George said on a conference call he expects C$2 billion to C$4 billion in asset sales, mostly next year, and would equal roughly 10 percent of production and would help cut debt.

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