Increased fuel sales and expanded operations helped propel Parkland Income Fund (TSX: PKI.UN) to a record first quarter.
The Red Deer-based company reported on Tuesday that it sold 673 million litres of fuel from January to March, up nearly 30 per cent from the 523 million litres sold during the same period in 2008. This helped boost Parkland’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $32.3 million for the quarter, 87 per cent higher than the corresponding figure for 2008.
Net earnings were $19.8 million, 94 per cent higher than for the same quarter in 2008.
That translated into per unit earnings of 40 cents, up from 20 cents.
A news release issued by Parkland said its fuel sales volumes and EBITDA both set first quarter records, with the latter also the second-highest quarterly EBITDA in Parkland’s history.
“In the face of considerable economic challenges, Parkland recorded one of the most successful quarters in its history, an accomplishment we attribute to a sharp strategic and operational focus, the continued diversification of our business by brand, fuel type and geography, and the strength of over 1,150 Parkland employees from B.C. to Ontario,” said Mike Chorlton, Parkland’s president and CEO.
Parkland’s net sales and operating revenues were actually down six per cent to $455.1 million — the result of lower crude oil prices — but higher retail and refiners’ margins helped it post the higher earnings.
“Refiners’ margins for gasoline were exceptionally strong for a winter quarter and were significantly higher than in the prior year,” said Chorlton.
The release noted that retail fuel volumes increased at stores operated by Parkland, while commercial fuel sales volumes were hurt by reduced activity in the forestry, trucking and oilpatch sectors.
The jump in fuel sales was attributed in part to acquisitions made by Parkland during the past year, including its purchase of the fuel supply and marketing business of NOCO Energy Canada Inc.
Parkland operates retail and wholesale fuels and convenience store businesses, including Fas Gas Plus, Fas Gas, Race Trac Fuels and Short Stop Food Stores.
Units of Parkland Income Fund closed at $8.56 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday, up 76 cents.