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Murphy Oil C-store Spinoff Confirmed for 2013

EL DORADO, Ark. – Murphy Oil Corp.'s spinoff of its convenience store and gas station business is on track to be completed in 2013, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Fitzgerald said today during the company's 2012 fiscal third-quarter earnings call.

He confirmed that the new company, to be called Murphy Oil USA Inc., will primarily be composed of the company's more than 1,150 convenience stores and gas stations, as well as some other assets including two ethanol plants.

Fitzgerald, however, was not more specific about when in 2013 the spinoff could take place. "We are only waiting to confirm the tax-free status of the transaction, as well as other regulatory issues," the CFO stated.

The new spinoff will likely have even more than the current 1,154 stores, as the retailer plans to add another 12 stations by the end of this year, noted Steven Cossé, president and CEO.

As for Murphy Oil Corp.'s third-quarter earnings, the downstream division -- which includes its entire retail division -- earned a profit of $42.8 million in the latest quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to net earnings of $68.9 million during the same period last year.

"Our downstream division performed well during a challenging period with rising gas prices," Cossé commented during today's earnings call.

Fitzgerald acknowledged that its retail margins were challenged in the third quarter, but he added that retail margins improved significantly in October.

Overall, Murphy Oil Corp. earned a net profit of $226.7 million for all operations in its latest quarter, compared to a gain of $406.1 million in its 2011 third quarter.

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