Marathon Petroleum Corp. reported a strong year in 2017, nearly tripling its earnings and seeing solid results from its Enon-based Speedway convenience store chain.
Marathon, parent company of Speedway and based in Findlay, Ohio, reported annual earnings of $3.43 billion in 2017, compared to $1.17 billion the previous year.
Speedway’s earnings were listed as $732 million, about flat compared to $734 million for the full year in 2016.
“We delivered a strong operational and financial performance across the business,” said Gary Heminger, chairman and CEO of Marathon. “We provided outstanding value for our investors in 2017.”
Speedway has about 1,350 employeers in Clark County and 33,820 workers nationally.
Capital spending for Speedway will be $530 million this year, Heminger said, an increase of about $150 million compared to last year. That includes a significant boost in spending for construction and remodeling of Speedway convenience stores.
“The significant increase is targeted for the construction of new stores, as well as the remodeling and rebuilding of existing stores,” Heminger said in a conference call with investors Thursday morning.
Anthony Kenney, Speedway’s CEO, told the Springfield News-Sun in an exclusive interview last fall that the retail chain will look to add additional stores either through internal growth or through acquisition. That could also mean additional work at its headquarters in Enon and Springfield, he said.
Marathon had considered spinning off Speedway but ultimately decided against the plan last fall.
Speedway, with more than 2,700 stores, is the country’s second-largest company owned-and-operated convenience store chain. It’s a significant employer in Clark County, with its corporate headquarters in Enon and Springfield.
Marathon’s growth was fueled in part by a strong fourth quarter, according to company officials. It reported fourth-quarter earnings of about $2 billion, compared to $227 million during the same period in 2016. Heminger partially credited changes in the U.S. tax code for the boost in fourth quarter earnings.
The Speedway segment reported $149 million in earnings for the fourth quarter last year, down about 10 percent compared to the same quarter in 2016, according to information from the company.
The decrease in earnings was attributed to factors that included higher operating expenses and lower merchandise sales. There was a slight decline in gasoline sales at the end of last year, which Speedway officials said they expect to be a short-term issue caused by rising crude oil prices and major storms that across much of the East Coast.
“We had two or three major ice storms where things just were shut down,” Heminger said.