PBF Energy Partners with Eni on Biorefinery

Reuters, February 16, 2023

PBF Energy Inc posted a higher fourth-quarter profit on Thursday and said it sealed a joint venture with a unit of Italian energy group Eni for a renewable diesel project in the United States.

Shares of PBF jumped 10% to $45.90.

As part of the 50-50 venture, Eni will contribute $835 million, excluding working capital, plus up to an additional $50 million that is subject to the achievement of project milestones, PBF said.

The joint venture, St. Bernard Renewables LLC (SBR), will own the renewable diesel project currently under construction and co-located with PBF's Chalmette refinery in Louisiana.

"A little short on earnings, but strong buyback figure and sold half of the RD (renewable diesel) project for more than the total cost to build," said Matthew Blair, analyst at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

PBF in December had announced a $500 million share repurchase program, of which the company said on Thursday it returned about $188.9 million, including $32.5 million in 2023.

U.S. refiners last year benefited from increased exports after their cost-wary European counterparts reduced capacity due to a surge in European natural gas prices.

PBF's gross refining margin, excluding special items, rose to $1.71 billion in the reported quarter, from $998.7 million a year ago.

Total crude oil and feedstocks throughput climbed 8% in the October-December quarter to 86.4 million barrels.

The company expects full-year 2023 throughput between 935,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 995,000 bpd, and in the current quarter between 845,000 bpd and 905,000 bpd.

PBF said net income attributable to stockholders rose to $637.8 million, or $4.86 per share, in the three-month period ended Dec. 31, from $165.3 million, or $1.36 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

However, on an adjusted basis, it posted a profit $4.41 per share, missing average analysts' estimate of $4.98 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

(Reporting by Arunima Kumar; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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