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    Sunoco Q4 Profit Plummets

    The more than 75 percent drop caused by poor operating results.

    PHILADELPHIA -- Sunoco Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit dropped 77 percent, due to falling operating results. Despite this, the refiner was able to stay in the black thanks to $57 million in special items, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

    Revenue for the company increased 3.8 percent to $8.97 billion. Profit was $56 million, down from $243 million a year earlier. Excluding special items, Sunoco would have reported a $31 million loss, the news agency reported.

    The company's retail business saw profit fall 80 percent on lower margins. Sunoco's refining and supply business saw a loss on lower margins and output, according to the report. Last week, Sunoco announced it would permanently close its Eagle Point refinery in Westville, N.J., due to the poor economics, the report stated.

    "As we consider the outlook for 2010, we continue to expect challenging markets... due to ongoing economic weakness and excess global supply," Chief Executive Lynn Elsenhans said in a conference call with analysts and quoted by Dow Jones.

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