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SuperAmerica Will Add to Its Franchisee Roster

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Northern Tier Energy LP's SuperAmerica convenience store division will continue to add franchisee locations for the remainder of this year, Director of Planning and Strategy Maria Testani told CSNews Online following the company's 2012 fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call this morning.

During its latest quarter, SuperAmerica licensed and branded its name to 70 convenience stores, a slight increase compared to the number added in its 2012 third quarter. Meanwhile, the number of company-owned and -operated stores, primarily located in Minnesota and Wisconsin, remains steady at 166, Testani said.

Overall, Northern Tier's retail division earned a net profit of $3.5 million in its latest quarter, ended Dec. 31, vs. a $6.8 million gain in the same period a year ago. For all of 2012, SuperAmerica generated an $8.7 million profit, compared to $14 million in 2011. During the earnings call, Northern Tier co-founder and CEO Hank Kuchta cited a decrease in fuel margins as the reason for the retail earnings decline in its latest quarter.

Looking forward, Testani noted that SuperAmerica expects to sell 72 million gallons of fuel, carrying a 16-cent per gallon margin, in its 2013 fiscal first quarter ending March 30. The company also expects to sell $80 million worth of in-store merchandise with a 25.5-percent gross margin at its 166 stores.

Companywide, Northern Tier earned a net profit of $84.5 million in its latest quarter vs. $292.7 million during the same timeframe in 2011. However, those figures include several one-time items. Northern Tier also paid a distribution of $1.27 per unit on Feb. 28, its second such quarterly payout since its July 31 initial public offering.

Ridgefield, Conn.-based Northern Tier Energy LP operates as a master limited partnership.

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