Suncor Earnings Rise, Boosted by After-Tax Gain, Record Refinery Business

By Vipal Monga Features Dow Jones Newswires

Suncor Energy Inc. reported a surge in third-quarter earnings as crude oil prices climbed and the Canadian oil producer's refineries did record business.

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Suncor earned a net 1.3 billion Canadian dollars ($1.01 billion), or C$0.78 a share, during the three months ended Sept. 30, more than three times the C$392 million the company earned a year earlier. The company recorded an unrealized after-tax gain of C$412 million as the Canadian dollar strengthened, pushing down the value of the company's U.S.-dollar-denominated debt.

The oil producer's shares rose 2.14% to C$43.05 early Thursday afternoon.

Crude oil prices rose above $50 a barrel during the quarter as major oil-producing countries cut back on production and inventories fell.

The Calgary-based company boosted production at its oil sands mines, following upgrades at the facilities, and also pushed down expenses. Cash operating costs per barrel fell to C$21.60 in the third quarter from C$22.15 a year ago.

Suncor Chief Financial Officer Alister Cowen said the company would have a "relentless focus" on expenses, during an earnings call with analysts.

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Suncor bought back C$282 million of its shares during the quarter and plans to continue with repurchases in the coming months. Management and the board also are discussing "the potential for a dividend increase next year," Chief Executive Steve Williams said during the call.

"We have no need to do M&A," he said.

Suncor also benefited from increased business at its refineries. The company's plants processed a record 466,800 barrels of oil a day.

In addition,

Write to Vipal Monga at vipal.monga@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 26, 2017 12:43 ET (16:43 GMT)