Caltex Australia Ltd profit soars on bumper retail margins

Caltex Australia Ltd (ASX:CTX) has beaten the consensus earnings estimate by 2.1 cents per share.

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This morning fuel supplier Caltex Australia Ltd (ASX: CTX) reported its full year results to the market with revenue coming in 17% lower than 2014 at $20 billion. Despite the expected lower revenue due to lower oil prices, the company reported net profit after tax of $628 million or 233 cents per share, up 27% from the $493 million reported last year.

This is toward the higher end of the full-year profit guidance of $615 million – $635 million which the company released to the market in mid-December.

Following fanatstic first-half results of 138.7 cents in earnings per share, analysts had been expecting full-year earnings per share of 230.9 cents. Today’s result beats the consensus estimate by 2.1 cents and I would expect the market to react positively when it opens.

For next year the market has forecast Caltex to achieve earnings per share of 234.8 cents, but following this result I would expect analysts to be scrambling to reassess these forecasts as the company goes from strength to strength.

This result now means the shares are trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.3, compared to the energy sector average of 18.8. It also means that by declaring a final fully franked dividend of 70 cents, when combined with the 47 cents interim dividend, the shares yield a fully franked 3.2%. In its last fiscal year the company paid a dividend of 70 cents, which makes this a whopping 67% increase year over year.

Much like Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd (ASX: SYD), Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN), and AIR N.Z. FPO NZ (ASX: AIZ), Caltex appears to have benefitted greatly from the low oil price. For Caltex it was through high gross retail margins which are being easily absorbed by consumers. In December the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported that the gross retail margin had increased to 11.8 cents per litre which was close to a record high.

As long as oil continues to remain low, I would anticipate another market-beating year for Caltex in fiscal 2016. As I feel the shares are reasonably priced at present, I would expect the share price to grow in line with earnings growth which could provide investors with strong returns on top of the growing dividend.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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