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PHILADELPHIA -- Sunoco Inc. reported net income of $104 million for the third quarter of 2004 vs. $109 million for the 2003 third quarter. Excluding special items, income for the current quarter was $125 million compared to $124 million for the 2003 third quarter.
For the first nine months of 2004, Sunoco reported net income of $427 million vs. net income of $276 million ($3.56 per share diluted) for the 2003 nine-month period. Excluding special items, Sunoco's income for the first nine months of 2004 was $452 million vs. $291 million for the first nine months of 2003.
"Results for the company continued to be strong, with good contributions from each of our businesses this quarter," said John G. Drosdick, Sunoco chairman and CEO. "We have achieved a record level of earnings during the first nine months of 2004 and the market fundamentals for our businesses continue to be very favorable.
Drosdick added that the company's refining and supply business again led the way with earnings of $89 million despite significant scheduled maintenance activity during the quarter. Margins, particularly for petrochemical feedstocks and for premium gasoline and distillate products, such as low-sulfur diesel and jet fuel, were strong.
"Also contributing significantly to our third quarter results was our chemicals business, which earned $30 million for the quarter," said Drosdick. "Year-on-year results for this business have improved for the past six consecutive quarters and this period's results reflect a new quarterly record for chemicals. With feedstock costs continuing at record high levels, the much improved results are due to substantial sales price increases for our phenol and polypropylene products and reflect the progressively tightening supply and demand for these products. We expect this cyclical recovery to continue."
Drosdick added that Sunoco's other businesses also achieved solid results for the quarter. Retail Marketing
earned $19 million, while Coke and Logistics earned $12 million and $9 million, respectively, in the quarter.
"We also continued our share repurchase activity, repurchasing over 2.6 million shares ($171 million) of Sunoco common stock during the quarter," said Drosdick. "Year-to-date, we have repurchased 3.7 million shares ($236 million) and have reduced total shares outstanding to 73.1 million. In September, our Board of
Directors approved an additional $500 million of share repurchase authorization, providing ample authority to continue this program which we believe to be an important element of our strategy to increase shareholder value."