20141231 10-K

 

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark one)

[X]  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)

OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014

OR

[  ]  TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR

15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from _______________ to _______________

 

 

Commission File Number 001-35914

MURPHY USA INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

46-2279221

(State or other jurisdiction of

(I.R.S. Employer

incorporation or organization)

Identification No.)

 

 

200 Peach Street

 

El Dorado, Arkansas

71730-5836

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

(870) 875-7600

(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.01 Par Value

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes         __  No

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  __Yes  No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes__  No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes   No

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K    ______

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange act.

 

Large accelerated filer   Accelerated filer          Non-accelerated filer __  Smaller reporting company __

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

    Yes  No

 

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter (as of June 30, 2014), based on the closing price on that date of $48.89 was $2,235,475,000.

 

Number of shares of Common Stock, $0.01 par value, outstanding at January 31, 2015 was 45,748,418.

Documents incorporated by reference:

 

Portions of the Registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement relating to the Annual Meeting of Stockholders on May 6, 2015 will be incorporated by reference in Part III herein.

 

 

 


 

 

MURPHY USA INC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS – 2014 Form 10-K

 

 

 

 

 

Page

 

 

PART I 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.    Business 

2

Item 1A.  Risk Factors 

13

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments 

26

Item 2.    Properties 

26

Item 3.    Legal Proceedings 

26

Supplemental Information.    Executive Officers of the Registrant 

26

Item 4.    Mine Safety Disclosures 

26

PART II 

 

Item 5.    Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchase of Securities 

28

Item 6.    Selected Financial Data 

31

Item 7.    Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 

32

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 

49

Item 8.    Financial Statements and Supplementary Data 

49

Item 9.    Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure 

49

Item 9A.  Controls and Procedures 

50

Item 9B.  Other Information 

50

PART III 

 

Item 10.  Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 

51

Item 11.  Executive Compensation 

51

Item 12.  Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters 

51

Item 13.  Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence 

51

Item 14.  Principal Accounting Fees and Services 

51

PART IV 

 

Item 15.  Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules 

52

Signatures 

56

 

 

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Part I

 

Item 1. BUSINESS

 

Our business consists primarily of the marketing of retail motor fuel products and convenience merchandise through a large chain of 1,263 (as of December 31, 2014) retail stations operated by us, almost all of which are in close proximity to Walmart stores. Our retail stations are located in 23 states, primarily in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest United States. Of these stations, 1,056 are branded Murphy USA and 207 are standalone Murphy Express locations (as of December 31, 2014). Our retail stations under the brand name Murphy USA® participate in the Walmart discount program that we offer at most locations. The Walmart discount program offers a cents-off per gallon purchased for fuel when using specific payment methods as decided by Walmart and us. The amount of the discount offered can vary based on many factors, including state laws. Our Murphy Express branded stations are not connected to the Walmart discount program but are otherwise similar to the Murphy USA sites, including the types of fuel and merchandise offerings available to our customers.

Our business also includes certain product supply and wholesale assets, including product distribution terminals and pipeline positions. As an independent publicly traded company, we believe we are a low-price, high volume fuel retailer selling convenience merchandise through low cost kiosks and small store formats with key strategic relationships and experienced management.

 

Murphy USA Inc (Murphy USA) was incorporated in Delaware on March 1, 2013 and holds, through its subsidiaries, the U.S. retail marketing business that was separated (the “Separation”) from its former parent company, Murphy Oil Corporation (“Murphy Oil”), plus certain ethanol production facilities and other assets and liabilities of Murphy Oil that supported the activities of the U.S. retail marketing operations.  The Separation was approved by the Murphy Oil board of directors on August 7, 2013, and was completed on August 30, 2013 through the distribution of 100% of the outstanding capital stock of Murphy USA to holders of Murphy Oil common stock on the record date of August 21, 2013. The Separation was completed in accordance with a separation and distribution agreement (the “Separation and Distribution Agreement”) entered into between Murphy Oil and Murphy USA. Murphy Oil retains no ownership interest in Murphy USA. 

 

Following the sale of our Hankinson, North Dakota ethanol production facility in December 2013, the operations of the Company are reported as one reporting segment: Marketing, which refers to our U.S. retail marketing operations as described above.  All of the Company’s business operations are conducted in the United States.  In addition to the Marketing reporting segment noted, “Corporate and other assets” activities include interest income, interest expense, and depreciation on certain assets that are not allocated to the Marketing segment and also include our remaining ethanol production facility located in Hereford, Texas.  

 

Our business is subject to various risks. For a description of these risks, see “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.   

 

Information about our operations, properties and business segments, including revenues by class of products and financial information by geographic area, are provided on pages 32 through 47, F-13, and  F-28 to F-29 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. 

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Our Competitive Strengths

 

Our business foundation is built around five reinforcing strengths which we feel give us a competitive advantage over our peers. These strengths support our Company vision which is to “Deliver every day the quickest, most friendly service and a low price value proposition to our growing customer base for the products and markets we serve.”

 

Strategic and complementary relationship with Walmart

Of our network of 1,263 retail gasoline stations (as of December 31, 2014), more than 1,050 are situated on prime locations located near Walmart stores. We believe our proximity to Walmart stores generates significant traffic to our retail stations while our competitively priced gasoline and convenience offerings appeal to our shared customers. We also collaborate with Walmart on a fuel discount program which we believe enhances the customer value proposition as well as the competitive position of both Murphy USA and Walmart with respect to our peers. We began our relationship with Walmart in 1996 and in December 2012 we signed an agreement that allows us to purchase land to build approximately 200 new sites on Walmart locations, which we expect to complete over the next few years. Further, we have a real estate development team to purchase and lease land from third parties near Walmart Supercenters when Walmart development may not be feasible

Winning proposition with value-conscious consumers

Our competitively priced fuel is a compelling offering for value-conscious consumers. Despite a flat long-term outlook in overall gasoline demand (vehicle miles traveled in a normal economy essentially offsetting increased fuel efficiency), we believe value-conscious consumers represent a growing demand segment. In combination with our high traffic locations, our competitive gasoline prices drive high fuel volumes and gross profit. In addition, we are an industry leader in per-site tobacco sales with our low-priced tobacco products and in total store sales per square foot as we also sell a growing assortment of single-serve/immediate consumption items that complement Walmart’s larger take home product offering.  We continue to provide value opportunities to our customers such as our popular cross promotions with soft drink, candy/snack and tobacco partners that offer a fuel discount if certain quantities of products are purchased.

Low cost retail operating model

We operate our retail gasoline stations with a strong emphasis on fuel sales complemented by a focused convenience offering that allows for a smaller store footprint than most of our competitors. A substantial majority of our new stations are standardized 208 square foot kiosk or 1,200 square foot small store formats, which we believe have very low capital expenditure, maintenance and utility requirements relative to our competitors. In addition, many of our stations require only one or two attendants to be present during business hours and the majority of our stores are located on Company-owned property and do not incur any rent expense. The combination of a focused convenience offering and standardized smaller footprint stores allows us to achieve lower overhead costs and on-site costs compared to competitors with a larger store format. According to the 2013 National Association of Convenience Stores’ State of the Industry Survey, we operate at approximately 58% of the average monthly operating costs for top quartile performing stores in the industry. In addition, we operate among the highest industry safety standards and had a Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away from Work (DAW) rate that was substantially lower than the industry averages in 2013 using the most current published data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Our low cost operating model translates into a low cash fuel breakeven requirement that allows us to weather extended periods of low fuel margins. 

Distinctive fuel supply chain capabilities 

We source fuel at very competitive industry benchmark prices due to the diversity of fuel options available to us in the bulk and rack product markets, our shipper’s status on major pipeline systems, and our access to numerous terminal locations. In addition, we have a strong distribution system in which we analyze intra-day supply options and dispatch third-party tanker trucks to the most favorably priced terminal to load products for each Murphy site, further reducing our fuel product costs. By participating in

3


 

the broader fuel supply chain, we believe our business model provides additional upside exposure to opportunities to enhance margins and volume. For example, incremental revenue is generated by capturing and selling Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) via our capability to source bulk fuel and subsequently blend ethanol and bio-diesel at the terminal level.  We can also optimize the supply chain by shifting non-contractual wholesale volumes to protect retail fuel supply.  These activities demonstrate our belief that participating in the broader fuel supply chain provides us with added flexibility to ensure reliable low-cost fuel supply in various market conditions and especially during periods of significant price volatility.

 Resilient financial profile and engaged team

Our predominantly fee-simple asset base, ability to generate attractive gross margins through our low-price, high volume strategy, and our low overhead costs should help us endure prolonged periods of unfavorable commodity price movements and compressed fuel margins. We also believe our conservative financial structure further protects us from the inherently volatile fuel environment. In connection with the Separation, we entered into a new credit facility, borrowed $150 million of term loans thereunder and issued $500 million aggregate principal amount of 6% senior unsecured notes due 2023. We have not yet needed to borrow under the credit facility and we have fully repaid the $150 million term loan as of May 2014.  We expect that our strong cash position and availability under our credit facility will continue to provide us with a significant level of liquidity to help maintain a disciplined capital expenditure program focused on growing ratably through periods of both high and low fuel margins. We also have over 9,400 hardworking employees that are actively engaged to serve their customer, whether it is the retail consumer or their co-workers. We believe our sustainable business model and stable organic growth opportunities support an employee value proposition that makes Murphy USA an attractive place to work.    

Our Business Strategy

Our business strategy reflects a set of coherent choices that leverage our differentiated strengths and capabilities. 

Grow organically

We intend for our relationship with Walmart to be a key driver of our organic growth over the next several years. We expect to build at a pace of 60 to 80 sites per year in core markets on or near Walmart locations over the next few years and are evaluating opportunities to potentially accelerate that growth.  Nearly 1,000 of our locations currently participate in our fuel discount program with Walmart which reinforces Walmart’s low-price philosophy. We will continue to work with Walmart on the implementation and improvement of the fuel discount program as we believe it is an effective tool for maximizing fuel volumes and investment returns. We also utilize our real estate development team and market insights to find available land near Walmart Supercenters to add to our future pipeline of sites. 

Diversify merchandise mix 

We plan to continuously evaluate our kiosk strategy in an effort to maximize our site economics and return on investment. As part of that strategy, we are continually refining our new 1,200 square foot small store format design to create a foundation for increasing higher-margin non-tobacco sales and diversifying our merchandise offerings. For example, we continue to tailor our product offerings to complement the retail selection within Walmart stores, such as offering products in a variety of quantities and sizes, or stock keeping units (SKUs), which are more convenience-oriented. By implementing new merchandising, space management, promotion analytics and workforce planning capabilities, we expect to further optimize merchandise revenue and margins along with labor needs and overall site returns.

Sustain cost leadership position 

We believe that sustaining our low cost position is a strategic advantage as a retailer of commodity products. We are undertaking several initiatives that have a purpose of increasing efficiency which will ultimately lead to lower costs per retail site.  One of our goals is to beat inflation on per-site operating costs to help sustain low site level costs. We also believe that through our planned growth and efficiency initiatives, we can achieve reductions in overhead costs to support an overall improvement in our site

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returns and keep costs properly scaled as we grow organically. In order to do this successfully, we will focus on the development of our employees and foster a high performance culture aligned with business performance, including cost leadership.

Create advantage from market volatility 

We plan to continue to focus our product supply and wholesale efforts on activities that enhance our ability to be a low-price retail fuel leader and our ability to take advantage of fuel price volatility. We will continue to invest in capabilities and asset positions that support our supply chain strategy. With respect to non-core assets like our remaining ethanol plant, we will seek to maximize value to our shareholders by improving the assets as necessary to demonstrate their highest potential value.

 Invest for the long term

We maintain a portfolio of predominantly fee-simple assets and we believe we have an appropriate debt structure that will allow us to be resilient during times of fuel price and margin volatility. We believe our strong financial position should allow us to profitably execute on our low-cost, high volume retail strategy and our organic growth strategy through periods of both high and low fuel margins while re-investing in our existing sites, brand image and supporting capabilities. We are creating a high performance organization focused on staff development by leveraging our core principles and competencies. Furthermore, we will continue to consider all alternatives for returning excess earnings or capital with a focus on maximizing shareholder value.        

Industry Trends

We operate within the large, growing, competitive and highly fragmented U.S. retail fuel and convenience store industry.  We believe we will continue to benefit on a relative basis to competitors from several key industry trends and characteristics, including:

·

Increased sensitivity to gas prices among price conscious consumers, and increasing demand for low-priced fuel;

·

Highly fragmented nature of the industry providing larger chain operators like Murphy USA with significant scale advantage; and

·

Increasing consumer traffic around supermarkets and large format hypermarkets, supporting complementary consumer demand at nearby and cross-promoted retail fuel stores.

Corporate Information

Murphy USA was incorporated in Delaware on March 1, 2013 and our business consists of U.S. retail marketing operations.  Our headquarters are located at 200 Peach Street, El Dorado, Arkansas 71730 and our general telephone number is (870) 875-7600.  Our Internet website is www.murphyusa.com.  Our website and the information contained on that site, or connected to that site, are not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.  Shares of Murphy USA common stock are traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “MUSA”.

 

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Description of Our Business

We market fueling products through a network of Company retail stations and unbranded wholesale customers. During 2014,  the Company sold approximately 4.0 billion gallons of motor fuel through our retail outlets. Below is a table that lists the states where we operate Company-owned stations at December 31, 2014 and the number of stations in each state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State

No. of stations

State

No. of stations

State

No. of stations

Alabama

71

Kansas

1

New Mexico

12

Arkansas

64

Kentucky

40

Ohio

44

Colorado

8

Louisiana

67

Oklahoma

52

Florida

116

Michigan

23

South Carolina

53

Georgia

83

Minnesota

7

Tennessee

84

Iowa

21

Missouri

46

Texas

262

Illinois

31

Mississippi

51

Virginia

10

Indiana

36

North Carolina

81

Total

1,263

 

The following table provides a history of our Company-owned station count during the three-year period ended December 31, 2014:   

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

2014 
2013 
2012 

Start of period

1,203 
1,165 
1,128 

New construction

60 
39 
37 

Closed

 —

(1)

 —

End of period

1,263 
1,203 
1,165 

 

 

 

 

In recent years, we have purchased from Walmart the properties underlying over 900 of our Company stations. Our December 21, 2012 agreement with Walmart provides for the potential purchase of approximately 200 additional sites. In January 2013, we paid approximately $42 million as a first installment on these land purchases.  Our agreement requires us to obtain Walmart’s approval of our development plans and to indemnify Walmart for certain environmental liabilities. In addition, Walmart has the right to terminate the agreement with respect to certain properties located adjacent to Walmart stores if the sale of any such property to us would result in certain claims or liabilities against Walmart or, in Walmart’s sole discretion, would impair the operation of the related Walmart store. To date, the agreement with respect to some of the 200 sites has been terminated due to various local conditions which would affect development including zoning and permitting restrictions.  We continue to work with Walmart to determine if these terminated sites will be replaced with other sites at a future date. 

Each of our owned properties that were purchased from Walmart is also subject to Easements and Covenants with Restrictions Affecting Land (“ECRs”), which impose customary restrictions on the use of such properties, which Walmart has the right to enforce. In addition, pursuant to the ECRs, certain transfers involving these properties are subject to Walmart’s right of first refusal or right of first offer. Also pursuant to the ECRs, we are prohibited from transferring such properties to a competitor of Walmart.

For risks related to our December 2012 agreement with Walmart, including the ECRs, see “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business—Walmart retains certain rights in its agreements with us, which may adversely impact our ability to conduct our business.”

For the remaining fueling stations located on or adjacent to Walmart property that are not owned, we have a master lease agreement that allows us to rent land from Walmart. The master lease agreement contains general terms applicable to all rental sites on Walmart property in the United States. The term of the leases is 10 years at each station, with us holding four successive five-year extension options at each site. A majority of the leased sites have over twenty years of term remaining including renewals. The agreement permits Walmart to terminate it in its entirety, or only as to affected sites, at its option under customary circumstances (including in certain events of bankruptcy or insolvency), or if we improperly

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transfer the rights under the agreements to another party. In addition, the master lease agreement prohibits us from selling all or any portion of a station without first offering to sell all or such portion of the station to Walmart and provides that if Murphy Oil USA, Inc., our wholly-owned and primary operating subsidiary is acquired or becomes a party to any merger or consolidation that results in a material change in management of the stations, Walmart will have the option to purchase the stations at fair market value. As of December 31, 2014 we are currently leasing 103 sites from Walmart. 

We also have five Murphy USA sites located near Walmart locations where we pay rent to other landowners.

As of December 31, 2014, we have 165 Murphy Express sites where we own the land and 42 locations where we rent the underlying land.

We have numerous sources for our retail fuel supply, including nearly all of the major and large oil companies operating in the U.S. We purchase fuel from oil companies,  independent refiners, and other marketers at rates that fluctuate with market prices and generally are reset daily, and we sell fuel to our customers at prices that we establish daily. All fuel is delivered by the truckload as needed to replenish supply at our Company stations. Our inventories of fuel on site turn approximately once daily. By establishing motor fuel supply relationships with several alternate suppliers for most locations, we believe we are able to effectively create competition for our purchases among various fuel suppliers. We also believe that purchasing arrangements with multiple fuel suppliers may help us avoid product outages during times of motor fuel supply disruptions. At some locations, however, there are limited suppliers for fuel in that market and we may have only one supplier. Our refined products are distributed through a few product distribution terminals that are wholly-owned and operated by us and from numerous terminals owned by others. About half of our wholly-owned terminals are supplied by marine transportation and the rest are supplied by pipeline. We also receive products at terminals owned by others either in exchange for deliveries from our terminals or by outright purchase.

In addition to the motor fuel sold at our Company stations, our stores carry a broad selection of snacks, beverages, tobacco products and non-food merchandise. The merchandise we offer includes our private label products, such as an isotonic drink offered in several flavors and a private label energy drink. In 2014, we purchased more than 85% of our merchandise from a single vendor, McLane Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

A statistical summary of key operating and financial indicators for each of the five years ended December 31, 2014 are reported below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

Branded retail outlets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murphy USA®

 

1,056 
1,021 
1,015 
1,003 
1,001 

Murphy Express

 

207 
182 
150 
125 
98 

Other (1)

 

 —

 —

 —

 —

116 

Total

 

1,263 
1,203 
1,165 
1,128 
1,215 

Retail marketing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuel margin per gallon (cpg) (2)

 

15.8 
13.0 
12.9 
15.6 
11.4 

Gallons sold per store month

 

270,415 
268,458 
277,001 
277,715 
306,646 

Merchandise sales revenue per store month

$

146,823 
152,549 
156,429 
158,144 
153,530 

Merchandise margin as a percentage of merchandise sales

 

14.0% 
13.1% 
13.5% 
12.8% 
13.1% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)     Represents former Spur locations sold in 2011 as part of the refinery sales recorded as discontinued operations (not included in per store month calculations).

(2)     Represents net sales prices for fuel less purchased cost of fuel.

.

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Our business is organized into one reporting segment (Marketing).  The Marketing segment includes our retail marketing sites and product supply and wholesale assets. Prior to December 2013, we also had an Ethanol segment which consisted of our ethanol production facilities located in Hankinson, North Dakota and in Hereford, Texas.  After the Hankinson facility was sold in December 2013, we reassessed our segments and due to not meeting the aggregation criteria, we have included the remainder of the former Ethanol segment in the prior “Corporate” section which has been renamed “Corporate and other assetsTherefore, we have restated our segments for the current period and all prior periods to reflect one remaining reporting segment, Marketing.  The Hereford facility began operations in early 2011 and we wrote down the carrying value at this facility at year end 2012 due to expectations of continued weak margins.  We are currently considering strategic alternatives for the remaining Hereford ethanol facility. As part of this effort, we are evaluating various factors including the appropriate timing and market conditions to maximize value in any potential sale; however, a final decision has not yet been determined and this remaining ethanol asset does not meet the criteria for “held for sale” presentation at this time. Therefore, historical financial results for the Hereford plant are included in continuing operations for all periods presented.

For operating segment information, see Note 20 “Business Segments” in the accompanying audited consolidated and combined financial statements for the three-year period ended December 31, 2014.  

Competition

The U.S. petroleum business is highly competitive, particularly with regard to accessing and marketing petroleum and other refined products. We compete with other chains of retail fuel stations for fuel supply and in the retail sale of refined products to end consumers, primarily on the basis of price, but also on the basis of convenience and consumer appeal. In addition, we may also face competition from other retail fueling stations that adopt marketing strategies similar to ours by associating with non-traditional retailers, such as supermarkets, discount club stores and hypermarkets, particularly in the geographic areas in which we operate. We expect that our industry will continue to trend toward this model, resulting in increased competition to us over time. Moreover, because we do not produce or refine any of the petroleum or other refined products that we market and Murphy Oil does not supply us with refined products, we compete with retail gasoline companies that have ongoing supply relationships with affiliates or former affiliates that manufacture refined products. We also compete with integrated companies that have their own production and/or refining operations that are at times able to offset losses from marketing operations with profits from producing or refining operations, and may be better positioned to withstand periods of depressed retail margins or supply shortages. In addition, we compete with other retail and wholesale gasoline marketing companies that have more extensive retail outlets and greater brand name recognition. Some of our competitors have been in existence longer than we have and have greater financial, marketing and other resources than we do. As a result, these competitors may have a greater ability to bear the economic risks inherent in all phases of our business and may be able to respond better to changes in the economy and new opportunities within the industry.

In addition, the retail gasoline industry in the United States is highly competitive due to ease of entry and constant change in the number and type of retailers offering similar products and services. With respect to merchandise, our retail sites compete with other convenience store chains, independently owned convenience stores, supermarkets, drugstores, discount clubs, gasoline service stations, mass merchants, fast food operations and other similar retail outlets. In recent years, several non-traditional retailers, including supermarkets, discount club stores and mass merchants, have begun to compete directly with retail gasoline sites. These non-traditional gasoline retailers have obtained a significant share of the gasoline market, and their market share is expected to grow, and these retailers may use promotional pricing or discounts, both at the fuel pump and in the convenience store, to encourage in-store merchandise sales and gasoline sales. In addition, some large retailers and supermarkets are adjusting their store layouts and product prices in an attempt to appeal to convenience store customers. Major competitive factors include: location, ease of access, product and service selection, gasoline brands, pricing, customer service, store appearance, cleanliness and safety.

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Market Conditions and Seasonality

Market conditions in the oil and gas industry are cyclical and subject to global economic and political events and new and changing governmental regulations. Our operating results are affected by price changes in crude oil, natural gas and refined products, as well as changes in competitive conditions in the markets we serve. In addition, our ethanol production operations are impacted by the price of corn, which may be affected by future droughts and adverse planting and harvesting conditions. 

Oil prices, wholesale motor fuel costs, motor fuel sales volumes, motor fuel gross margins and merchandise sales can be subject to seasonal fluctuations. For example, consumer demand for motor fuel typically increases during the summer driving season, and typically falls during the winter months. Therefore, our revenues and/or sales volumes are typically higher in the second and third quarters of our fiscal year. Travel, recreation and construction are typically higher in these months in the geographic areas in which we operate, increasing the demand for motor fuel and merchandise that we sell. A significant change in any of these factors, including a significant decrease in consumer demand (other than typical seasonal variations), could materially affect our motor fuel and merchandise volumes, motor fuel gross profit and overall customer traffic, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Trademarks

We sell gasoline primarily under the Murphy USA® and Murphy Express brands, which are trademarks of Murphy Oil. The Trademark License Agreement that we entered into with Murphy Oil in connection with the Separation contained a trademark license granting us the right to continue to use such Murphy Oil-owned trademarks throughout the term of that agreement subject to the terms and conditions therein.

 In the highly competitive business in which we operate, our trade names, service marks and trademarks are important to distinguish our products and services from those of our competitors. We are not aware of any facts which would negatively impact our continuing use of any of the above trade names, service marks or trademarks.

IT Systems and Store Automation

All of our Company stations use a standard hardware and software platform for point-of-sale (“POS”) that facilitates item level scanning of merchandise for sales and inventory, and the secure acceptance of all major payment methods – cash, check, credit, debit, fleet and mobile. Our standard approach to large scale and geographically dispersed deployments reduces total IT cost of ownership for the POS and inherently makes the system easier to use, support, and replace. This POS technology strategy reflects close alignment with our growth plan.

The store back office systems run on the same platform as the POS which further leverages economies of scale to keep system costs down. The back office systems are primarily “Intranet” based web applications which are rendered through a standard web browser. These applications are a combination of software as a service (“SaaS”), commercial off the shelf software (“COTS”), and custom software applications developed using modern industry standard tools and methodologies.

Our Company stations use PDI accounting systems to manage fuel and merchandise inventory, place orders, record deposits and transmit sales to the home office. Our Company stations also use COTS workforce management and task management systems for managing store associate labor, schedules, and duties. Sophisticated systems are used to minimize store labor by automating most redundant tasks such as merchandise and fuel pricing on the POS, fuel dispensers, and price signs.

All Company stations are networked to our central servers in the corporate office. Detailed fuel sales transactions and inventory levels are processed and recorded locally, then transmitted to the corporate office each 15 to 30 minutes. The data is then fed into a centralized data warehouse, where it is combined with other sources and used to optimize fuel pricing, streamline fuel inventory management, facilitate loss prevention and optimize supply chain and distribution.

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Our corporate services utilize JD Edwards, PDI Enterprise, Hyperion, RightAngle and other enterprise systems for financial reporting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, asset management, payroll, human resources, credit and risk management and other support functions. These enterprise class systems provide significant flexibility in managing corporate and store operations, as well as scalability for growth.

The on-boarding process for the entire enterprise is performed through a SaaS provider. All paperwork and associated workflow is handled electronically which reduces both store and corporate administrative costs.

We invest in disaster recovery, system backups, redundancy, firewall, remote access security and virus and spam protection to ensure a high level of system security and availability. We have systems, business policies and processes around access controls, password expirations and file retention to ensure a high level of control within our IT network.

Environmental

We are subject to numerous federal, state and local environmental laws, regulations and permits. Such environmental requirements have historically been subject to frequent change and tended to become more stringent over time. While we strive to comply with these environmental requirements, any violation of such requirements can result in litigation or the imposition of significant civil and criminal penalties, injunctions or other sanctions. Compliance with these environmental requirements affects our overall cost of business, including capital costs to construct, maintain and upgrade equipment and facilities, and ongoing operating expenditures. We maintain sophisticated leak detection and remote monitoring systems for underground storage tanks at the vast majority of our retail fueling stations and install up-to-date tank, piping, and monitoring systems at our new stores. We operate above ground bulk petroleum tanks at our terminal locations and have either replaced or intend to replace underground product lines at our terminals with overhead pipelines to help mitigate the risk of potential soil and groundwater contamination. We allocate a portion of our capital expenditure program to comply with environmental laws and regulations, and such capital expenditures are projected to be $1.2 million in 2015.  

We could be subject to joint and several as well as strict liability for environmental contamination. Some of our current and former properties have been operated by third-parties whose handling and management of hazardous materials were not under our control, and substantially all of them have or previously had motor fuel or petroleum product storage tanks. Pursuant to certain environmental laws, we could be responsible for remediating contamination relating to such sites, including impacts attributable to prior site occupants or other third parties, and for implementing remedial measures to mitigate the risk of future contamination. We may also have liability for contamination and violations of environmental laws under contractual arrangements with third parties, such as landlords and former owners of our sites, including at our sites in close proximity to Walmart stores. Contamination has been identified at certain of our current and former terminals and retail fueling stations, and we are continuing to conduct investigation and remediation activities in relation to such properties. The discovery of additional contamination or the imposition of further cleanup obligations at these or other properties could result in significant costs. In some cases, we may be eligible to receive money from state “leaking petroleum storage tank” trust funds to help remediate contamination at certain sites. However, receipt of such payments is subject to stringent eligibility requirements and other limitations that can significantly reduce the availability of such trust fund payments and may delay or increase the duration of associated cleanups. We could also be held responsible for contamination relating to third-party sites to which we or our predecessors have sent hazardous materials for recycling or disposal. We are currently identified as a potentially responsible party in connection with one such disposal site. Any such contamination, leaks from storage tanks or other releases of hazardous materials could result in claims against us by governmental authorities and other third parties for fines or penalties, natural resource damages, personal injury and property damage. From time to time, we are subject to legal and administrative proceedings governing the remediation of contamination or spills from current and past operations, including from our terminal operations and leaking petroleum storage tanks.

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Consumer demand for our products may be adversely impacted by fuel economy standards as well as greenhouse gas (“GHG”) vehicle emission reduction measures. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) finalized new standards raising the required Corporate Average Fuel Economy of the nation’s passenger fleet to approximately 35 miles per gallon by 2016 and imposing the first-ever federal GHG emissions standards on cars and light trucks. In September 2011, the EPA and the Department of Transportation published first-time standards to reduce GHG emissions and fuel consumption of medium and heavy duty trucks. In August 2012, the EPA and NHTSA finalized further mandated decreases in passenger vehicle GHG emissions and increases in fuel economy beginning with 2017 model year vehicles and increasing to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The EPA and NHTSA are required to issue more stringent standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in 2016.  These and any future increases in fuel economy standards or GHG emission reduction requirements could decrease demand for our products.

GHG and other air emissions from our own facilities are also subject to regulation. For example, certain of our fueling stations may be required to install and maintain vapor recovery systems to control emissions of volatile organic compounds to the air during the vehicle fueling process. In addition, recently proposed changes to requirements concerning the design and operation of underground storage tanks and ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone may require additional equipment upgrades and operating controls that could increase our capital and operating expenses.  We are also currently required to report annual GHG emissions from certain of our operations. Any existing or future GHG or other such air emission measures may result in increased compliance costs.

Our business is also subject to increasingly stringent laws and regulations governing the content and characteristics of fuel. For example, the gasoline we sell generally must meet increasingly rigorous sulfur and benzene standards. In addition, renewable fuel standards generally require refiners and gasoline blenders to meet certain volume quotas or obtain representative trading credits for renewable fuels that are established as a percentage of their finished product production. Such fuel requirements and renewable fuel standards may adversely affect our wholesale fuel purchase costs.  

Sale of Regulated Products

In certain areas where our retail sites are located, state or local laws limit the hours of operation for the sale of alcoholic beverages and restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products to persons younger than a certain age. State and local regulatory agencies have the authority to approve, revoke, suspend or deny applications for and renewals of permits and licenses relating to the sale of alcoholic beverages, as well as to issue fines to convenience stores for the improper sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Failure to comply with these laws may result in the loss of necessary licenses and the imposition of fines and penalties on us. Such a loss or imposition could have a material adverse effect on our business, liquidity and results of operations. In many states, retailers of alcoholic beverages have been held responsible for damages caused by intoxicated individuals who purchased alcoholic beverages from them. While the potential exposure for damage claims as a seller of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products is substantial, we have adopted procedures intended to minimize such exposure.

Federally mandated anti-money laundering regulations, specifically the USA PATRIOT Act, which amends the Bank Secrecy Act, dictate the rules and documentation requirements we follow for the sales of money orders. In addition, we are subject to random anti-money laundering compliance audits. We have an anti-money laundering compliance program and have employees of the Company who review certain money order sales transactions to ensure compliance with federal regulations.

We also adhere to the rules governing lottery sales as determined by state lottery commissions in each state in which we make such sales.

 

 

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Safety

We are subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) and comparable state statutes that regulate the protection of the health and safety of workers. In addition, the OSHA hazard communication standard requires that certain information be maintained about hazardous materials used or produced in our operations and that this information be provided to employees, state and local government authorities and citizens. We believe that our operations are currently in substantial compliance with OSHA requirements, including general industry standards, record-keeping requirements and monitoring of occupational exposure to regulated substances.

Other Regulatory Matters

Our retail sites are also subject to regulation by federal agencies and to licensing and regulations by state and local health, sanitation, fire and other departments relating to the development and operation of retail sites, including regulations relating to zoning and building requirements and the preparation and sale of food. Difficulties in obtaining or failures to obtain the required licenses or approvals could delay or prevent the development of a new retail site in a particular area.

Our operations are also subject to federal and state laws governing such matters as wage rates, overtime and citizenship requirements. At the federal level, there are proposals under consideration from time to time to increase minimum wage rates and periods of protected leaves.  In compliance with U.S. health care reform legislation, we have implemented a “bronze level” health care offering to our eligible non-exempt field employees.  The offering is projected to increase labor costs by an immaterial amount in 2015.  To date, initial enrollment is lower than projected.  We expect that as awareness of the taxpayer non-compliance penalty and related increases in this penalty takes effect, enrollment will increase. 

Employees

At December 31, 2014, we had approximately 9,450 employees, including approximately 2,000 full-time employees and 7,450 part-time employees.

Properties

Our headquarters of approximately 120,000 square feet is located at 200 Peach Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. Murphy Oil contributed this building as part of the Separation and currently is a tenant paying rent for its leased space.  We currently anticipate termination of the lease agreement with Murphy Oil late in 2015.  We also own and operate two other office buildings in El Dorado, Arkansas that house a portion of our operations and technology services personnel.   We have numerous owned and leased properties for our retail fueling stations as described under “—Description of Our Business,” as well as wholly-owned product distribution terminals and one ethanol production facility.

Website access to SEC Reports

Interested parties may obtain the Company’s public disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including Form 10-K, Form 10-Q, Form 8-K and other documents, by accessing the Investor Relations section of Murphy USA Inc.’s website at ir.corporate.murphyusa.com.

 

       Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 are available on our website, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are filed with, or furnished to, the SEC.  Alternatively, you may access these reports at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

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Item 1A. RISK FACTORS

 

You should carefully consider each of the following risks and all of the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. 

 

Our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially and adversely affected by any of these risks, and, as a result, the trading price of our common stock could decline.

 

Risks Relating to our Company

 

We have limited history operating as an independent public company. We incurred significant costs to create the corporate infrastructure necessary to operate as an independent public company, and we may experience increased ongoing costs in connection with being an independent public company compared to our history prior to the Separation.

We have historically used Murphy Oil’s corporate infrastructure to support our business functions, including information technology systems. The expenses related to establishing and maintaining this infrastructure were spread among all of Murphy Oil’s businesses. Following the Separation, we no longer have access to Murphy Oil’s infrastructure, and we have established and continue to maintain our own. While the majority of these costs were incurred by Murphy Oil prior to the Separation, we have incurred costs since the Separation and expect to continue to incur such costs to enhance and maintain the remaining necessary infrastructure.

Prior to the Separation, Murphy Oil performed many important corporate functions for us, including some treasury and payroll, tax administration and compliance, human resources, compensation and benefits, legal and other services. Following the Separation, Murphy Oil has continued to provide some of these services to us on a transitional basis, generally for a period of up to 18 months, with a possible extension of 6 months, pursuant to the Transition Services Agreement. Murphy Oil may not successfully execute all these functions during the transition period or we may have to expend significant efforts or costs materially in excess of those estimated under the Transition Services Agreement. Any interruption in these services could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operation and cash flows. In addition, no later than the end of this transition period, we will need to perform these functions ourselves or hire third parties to perform these functions on our behalf. The costs associated with performing or outsourcing these functions may exceed the amounts reflected in our historical consolidated and combined financial statements or that we have agreed to pay Murphy Oil during the transition period. A significant increase in the costs of performing or outsourcing these functions could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Since August 30, 2013, we have been subject to reporting and other obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”), and we have complied with the applicable requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 for the year ended December 31, 2014.  This requires annual management assessments of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting and a report by our independent registered public accounting firm addressing the effectiveness of these controls.  These reporting and other obligations place significant demands on our management and our administrative and operational resources, including accounting resources. 

In connection with our Separation from Murphy Oil, Murphy Oil has agreed to indemnify us for certain liabilities and we have agreed to indemnify Murphy Oil for certain liabilities. If we are required to act under these indemnities to Murphy Oil, we may need to divert cash to meet those obligations and our financial results could be negatively impacted. The Murphy Oil indemnity may not be sufficient to insure us against the full amount of liabilities for which it will be allocated responsibility, and Murphy Oil may not be able to satisfy its indemnification obligations to us in the future.

Pursuant to the Separation and Distribution Agreement and certain other agreements with Murphy Oil, Murphy Oil has agreed to indemnify us for certain liabilities, and we have agreed to indemnify Murphy

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Oil for certain liabilities. Indemnities that we may be required to provide Murphy Oil are not subject to any cap, may be significant and could negatively impact our business, particularly indemnities relating to our actions that could impact the tax-free nature of the distribution. Third parties could also seek to hold us responsible for any of the liabilities that Murphy Oil has agreed to retain, and under certain circumstances, we may be subject to continuing contingent liabilities of Murphy Oil following the Separation. Further, Murphy Oil may not be able to fully satisfy its indemnification obligations. Moreover, even if we ultimately succeed in recovering from Murphy Oil any amounts for which we are held liable, we may be temporarily required to bear these losses ourselves. Each of these risks could negatively affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our operations present hazards and risks, which may not be fully covered by insurance, if insured.  If a significant accident or event occurs for which we are not adequately insured, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected. 

The scope and nature of our operations present a variety of operational hazards and risks, including explosions, fires, toxic emissions, and natural catastrophes that must be managed through continual oversight and control.  These and other risks are present throughout our operations.  As protection against these hazards and risks, we maintain insurance against many, but not all, potential losses or liabilities arising from such risks.  Uninsured losses and liabilities arising from operating risks could reduce the funds available to us for capital and investment spending and could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. 

We have debt obligations that could restrict our business and adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows; our leverage could increase the overall cost of debt funding and decrease the overall debt capacity and commercial credit available to us in the future.

In connection with the Separation, we borrowed $650 million of new debt, used in part to fund a cash dividend to Murphy Oil immediately prior to the Separation. We have already repaid $150 million of this debt which was represented by a term loan.  The remaining level of debt could have significant consequences to our future operations, including:

·

making it more difficult for us to meet our payment and other obligations under our outstanding debt;

·

resulting in an event of default if we fail to comply with the financial and other restrictive covenants contained in our debt agreements, which event of default could result in all of our debt becoming immediately due and payable;

·

reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and other general corporate purposes, and limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for these purposes;

·

limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, and increasing our vulnerability to, changes in our business, the industry in which we operate and the general economy; and

·

placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt or are less leveraged.

Any of the above-listed factors could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, our credit facilities and the indenture that governs the notes include restrictive covenants that, subject to certain exceptions and qualifications, restrict or limit our ability and the ability of our restricted subsidiaries to, among other things, incur additional indebtedness, pay dividends, make certain investments, sell certain assets and enter into certain strategic transactions, including mergers and acquisitions. These covenants and restrictions could affect our ability to operate our business, and may limit our ability to react to market conditions or take advantage of potential business opportunities as they arise.

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Our leverage may increase the overall cost of debt funding and decrease the overall debt capacity and commercial credit available to us.  We have below investment-grade ratings from Moody’s and S&P based on our current capital structure. Our credit ratings could be lowered or withdrawn entirely by a ratings agency if, in its judgment, the circumstances warrant. If our existing ratings are lowered, or otherwise we do not obtain an investment grade rating in the future, or if we do and a rating agency were to downgrade us again to below investment grade, our borrowing costs would increase and our funding sources could decrease. Actual or anticipated changes or downgrades in our ratings, including any announcement that our ratings are under review for a downgrade, could adversely affect our business, cash flows, financial condition and operating results.

If the distribution from Murphy Oil, together with certain related transactions, does not qualify as a transaction that is generally tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes, shareholders and Murphy Oil could be subject to significant tax liability and, in certain circumstances, we could be required to indemnify Murphy Oil for material taxes pursuant to indemnification obligations under the Tax Matters Agreement entered into in connection with the Separation.

Murphy Oil has received a private letter ruling from the IRS substantially to the effect that, among other things, the distribution, together with certain related transactions, will qualify as a transaction that is generally tax-free to Murphy Oil and its stockholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and has also received a tax opinion from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, counsel to Murphy Oil, to substantially the same effect. The private letter ruling and the tax opinion does rely on certain representations, assumptions and undertakings, including those relating to the past and future conduct of our business, and neither the private letter ruling nor the opinion would be valid if such representations, assumptions and undertakings were incorrect. Moreover, the private letter ruling does not address all the issues that are relevant to determining whether the distribution will qualify for tax-free treatment. Notwithstanding the private letter ruling and the tax opinion, the IRS could determine the distribution should be treated as a taxable transaction for U.S. federal income tax purposes if it determines any of the representations, assumptions or undertakings that were included in the request for the private letter ruling are false or have been violated or if it disagrees with the conclusions in the opinion that are not covered by the IRS ruling.

If the distribution fails to qualify for tax-free treatment, in general, Murphy Oil would be subject to tax as if it had sold the Murphy USA common stock in a taxable sale for its fair market value, and Murphy Oil stockholders who received shares of Murphy USA common stock in the distribution would be subject to tax as if they had received a taxable distribution equal to the fair market value of such shares. In connection with the distribution, we and Murphy Oil entered into a Tax Matters Agreement that governs our rights and obligations with respect to our respective tax liabilities. Generally, we and Murphy Oil will indemnify each other for taxes attributable to our respective operations, and we will indemnify Murphy Oil from the failure of the distribution to qualify as a distribution under Section 355 of the Code as a result of a breach of certain representations or covenants by us. If we are required to indemnify Murphy Oil under the circumstances set forth in the Tax Matters Agreement, we may be subject to substantial liabilities.

We may not be able to engage in desirable strategic or capital-raising transactions following the Separation. In addition, under some circumstances, we could be liable for adverse tax consequences resulting from engaging in significant strategic or capital-raising transactions.

In the absence of a supplemental private letter ruling from the IRS or an unqualified opinion from a nationally recognized tax advisor, for the two-year period following the distribution (which was completed on August 30, 2013), we would be prohibited from carrying out a number of transactions that may otherwise be desirable, including:

·

engaging in any transaction involving a merger, consolidation or other reorganization involving shares of our stock;

·

entering into transactions which would result in one or more persons acquiring stock representing a 40% or greater interest in us;

·

disposing of assets used in the U.S. marketing business (other than our ethanol assets or other asset sales in the ordinary course of business);

·

discontinuing the U.S. marketing business or dissolving or liquidating; and

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·

repurchasing shares of our common stock, other than pursuant to open-market purchases to further legitimate business purposes.

These restrictions may limit our ability to pursue strategic transactions or engage in new business or other transactions that may maximize the value of our business.

Risks Relating to Our Business

Volatility in the global prices of oil and petroleum products and general economic conditions that are largely out of our control, as well as seasonal variations in fuel pricing, can significantly affect our operating results.

Our net income is significantly affected by changes in the margins on retail and wholesale gasoline marketing operations. Oil and domestic wholesale gasoline markets are volatile. General political conditions, acts of war or terrorism, instability in oil producing regions, particularly in the Middle East and South America, and the value of U.S. dollars relative to other foreign currencies, particularly those of oil producing nations, could significantly affect oil supplies and wholesale gasoline costs. In addition, the supply of gasoline and our wholesale purchase costs could be adversely affected in the event of a shortage, which could result from, among other things, lack of capacity at oil refineries, sustained increase in global demand or the fact that our gasoline contracts do not guarantee an uninterrupted, unlimited supply of gasoline. Our wholesale purchase costs could also be adversely affected by increasingly stringent regulations regarding the content and characteristics of fuel products. Significant increases and volatility in wholesale gasoline costs could result in lower gasoline gross margins per gallon. This volatility makes it extremely difficult to predict the effect that future wholesale cost fluctuations will have on our operating results and financial condition in future periods.

Except in limited cases, we typically do not seek to hedge any significant portion of our exposure to the effects of changing prices of crude oil and refined products. Dramatic increases in oil prices reduce retail gasoline gross margins, because wholesale gasoline costs typically increase faster than retailers are able to pass them along to customers. We purchase refined products, particularly gasoline, needed to supply our U.S. retail marketing stations. Therefore, our most significant costs are subject to volatility of prices for these commodities. Our ability to successfully manage operating costs is important because we have little or no influence on the sales prices or regional and worldwide consumer demand for oil and gasoline. Furthermore, oil prices, wholesale motor fuel costs, motor fuel sales volumes, motor fuel gross margins and merchandise sales can be subject to seasonal fluctuations. For example, consumer demand for motor fuel typically increases during the summer driving season, and typically falls during the winter months. Travel, recreation and construction are typically higher in these months in the geographic areas in which we operate, increasing the demand for motor fuel and merchandise that we sell. Therefore, our revenues and/or sales volumes are typically higher in the second and third quarters of our fiscal year. A significant change in any of these factors, including a significant decrease in consumer demand (other than typical seasonal variations), could materially affect our motor fuel and merchandise volumes, motor fuel gross profit and overall customer traffic, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Further, recessionary economic conditions, higher interest rates, higher gasoline and other energy costs, inflation, increases in commodity prices, higher levels of unemployment, higher consumer debt levels, higher tax rates and other changes in tax laws or other economic factors may affect consumer spending or buying habits, and could adversely affect the demand for products we sell at our retail sites. Unfavorable economic conditions, higher gasoline prices and unemployment levels can affect consumer confidence, spending patterns and miles driven. These factors can lead to sales declines in both gasoline and general merchandise, and in turn have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Our ability to continue to generate revenue and operating income depends on our continued relationship with Walmart.

At December 31, 2014, our 1,263 Company stations were almost all located near Walmart Supercenter stores. Therefore, our relationship with Walmart, the continued goodwill of Walmart and the integrity of Walmart’s brand name in the retail marketplace are all important drivers for our business. Any

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deterioration in our relationship with Walmart could have a material adverse effect on us, including limiting our future growth. In addition, our competitive posture could be weakened by negative changes at Walmart. Many of our Company stations benefit from customer traffic generated by Walmart retail stores, and if the customer traffic through these host stores decreases due to the economy or for any other reason, our sales could be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, on December 21, 2012, we entered into an agreement with Walmart to purchase approximately 200 properties for the development of additional retail fueling stations, which we expect to complete over the next few years. As a result, the foregoing risks impact our ability to achieve growth from these additional retail sites. We also rely upon Walmart’s cooperation with us in order to complete the purchases of these additional sites, and our agreement with Walmart requires us to obtain their approval of our development plans before we may purchase any properties from them. See “ – Walmart retains certain rights in its agreements with us, which may adversely impact our ability to conduct our business” below.  If our relationship with Walmart deteriorates or Walmart experiences a slowdown in customer traffic or reputational harm, we may not be successful in developing these additional retail sites, and as a result, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.

 

The current level of additional incremental revenue that is generated from RINs may not be sustainable.

 

Our revenues are impacted by our ability to generate revenues from activities such as blending bulk fuel with ethanol and bio-diesel to capture and subsequently sell Renewable Identification Numbers ("RINs").  The market price for RINs fluctuates based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to governmental and regulatory action and market dynamics.  In recent years, we have benefited by our ability to attain RINs and sell them at favorable prices in the market; these prices have remained relatively steady in 2014 and into 2015 due to significant uncertainty about how government standards could be modified as they impact RINs.  A significant decline in revenues from RINs in future periods could adversely affect our results of operations, and the impact could be material.

We are exposed to risks associated with the interruption of supply and increased costs as a result of our reliance on third-party supply and transportation of refined products.

We utilize key product supply and wholesale assets, including our pipeline positions and product distribution terminals, to supply our retail fueling stations. Much of our competitive advantage arises out of these proprietary arrangements which, if disrupted, could materially and adversely affect us. In addition to our own operational risks discussed above, we could experience interruptions of supply or increases in costs to deliver refined products to market if the ability of the pipelines or vessels to transport petroleum or refined products is disrupted because of weather events, accidents, governmental regulations or third-party actions. Furthermore, at some of our locations there are very few suppliers for fuel in that market.

 Changes in credit card expenses could reduce our gross margin, especially on gasoline.

A significant portion of our retail sales involve payment using credit cards. We are assessed credit card fees as a percentage of transaction amounts and not as a fixed dollar amount or percentage of our gross margins. Higher gasoline prices result in higher credit card expenses, and an increase in credit card use or an increase in credit card fees would have a similar effect. Therefore, credit card fees charged on gasoline purchases that are more expensive as a result of higher gasoline prices are not necessarily accompanied by higher gross margins. In fact, such fees may cause lower gross margins. Lower gross margins on gasoline sales caused by higher credit card fees may decrease our overall gross margin and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

 

 

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Walmart retains certain rights in its agreements with us, which may adversely impact our ability to conduct our business.

In recent years, we have purchased from Walmart the properties underlying over 900 of our Company stations. Our December 21, 2012 agreement with Walmart provides for the potential purchase of approximately 200 additional sites. Our agreement requires us to obtain Walmart’s approval of our development plans and to indemnify Walmart for certain environmental liabilities. In addition, Walmart has the right to terminate the agreement with respect to certain properties located adjacent to Walmart stores if the sale of any such property to us would result in certain claims or liabilities against Walmart or, in Walmart’s sole discretion, would impair the operation of the related Walmart store. To date, the agreement has been terminated with respect to some of the 200 sites due to various local conditions which would affect development including zoning and permitting restrictions.  We continue to work with Walmart to determine if these terminated sites will be replaced with other sites at a future date.  If we are unable to obtain Walmart’s approval or Walmart terminates the agreement with respect to additional properties, or we are unable to obtain site development permits, we may develop fewer sites than we currently anticipate, and the development of these sites may take longer than we anticipate or may not occur at all. As a result, we can provide no assurance as to the number of sites contemplated by the agreement that we will develop. The failure to develop these sites as currently contemplated for any reason could materially impact our forecasted growth.

In addition, our owned properties that were purchased from Walmart are subject to Easements with Covenants and Restrictions Affecting Land (the “ECRs”) between us and Walmart. The ECRs impose customary restrictions on the use of our properties, which Walmart has the right to enforce. The ECRs also provide that if we propose to sell a fueling station property or any portion thereof (other than in connection with the sale of all or substantially all of our properties that were purchased from Walmart or in connection with a bona fide financing), Walmart has a right of first refusal to purchase such property or portion thereof on similar terms. Subject to certain exceptions (including a merger in which we participate, the transfer of any of our securities or a change in control of us), if we market for sale to a third party all or substantially all of our properties that were purchased from Walmart, or if we receive an unsolicited offer to purchase such properties that we intend to accept, we are required to notify Walmart. Walmart then has the right, within 90 days of receipt of such notice, to make an offer to purchase such properties. If Walmart makes such an offer, for a period of one year we will generally only be permitted to accept third-party offers where the net consideration to us would be greater than that offered by Walmart.

The ECRs also prohibit us from transferring all or substantially all of our fueling station properties that were purchased from Walmart to a “competitor” of Walmart, as reasonably determined by Walmart. The term “competitor” is generally defined in the ECRs as an entity that owns, operates or controls grocery stores or supermarkets, wholesale club operations similar to that of a Sam’s Club, discount department stores or other discount retailers similar to any of the various Walmart store prototypes or pharmacy or drug stores.

Similarly, some of our leased properties are subject to certain rights retained by Walmart. Our master lease agreement states that if Murphy Oil USA, Inc. is acquired or becomes party to any merger or consolidation that results in a material change in the management of the stations, Walmart will have the option to purchase the stations at fair market value. The master lease also prohibits us from selling all or any portion of a station without first offering to sell all or such portion to Walmart on the same terms and conditions. These provisions may restrict our ability to conduct our business on the terms and in the manner we consider most favorable and may adversely affect our future growth.

We currently have one principal supplier for over 85% of our merchandise. A disruption in supply could have a material effect on our business.

Over 85% of our general merchandise, including most tobacco products and grocery items, is currently purchased from a single wholesale grocer, McLane Company, Inc. (“McLane”). We have a contract with McLane through September 2015, but we may not be able to renew the contract when it expires, or on similar terms. Alternative suppliers that we could use may not be immediately available. A disruption in supply could have a material effect on our business, cost of goods sold, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

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We may be unable to protect or maintain our rights in the trademarks we use in our business.

We expect to use the Murphy USA® and Murphy Express trademarks under the Trademark License Agreement that we entered into with Murphy Oil, which will continue to own those trademarks. Murphy Oil’s actions and our actions to protect our rights in those trademarks may not be adequate to prevent others from using similar marks or otherwise violating our rights in those trademarks. Furthermore, our right to use those trademarks is limited to the marketing business and can be terminated by Murphy Oil upon the occurrence of certain events, such as our uncured material breach, insolvency or change of control.

Capital financing may not always be available to fund our activities.

We usually must spend and risk a significant amount of capital to fund our activities. Although most capital needs are funded from operating cash flow, the timing of cash flows from operations and capital funding needs may not always coincide, and the levels of cash flow may not fully cover capital funding requirements.

From time to time, we may need to supplement our cash generated from operations with proceeds from financing activities. In connection with the Separation, we entered into a credit facility to provide us with available financing for working capital and other general corporate purposes. This credit facility is intended to meet any ongoing cash needs in excess of internally generated cash flows. Uncertainty and illiquidity in financial markets may materially impact the ability of the participating financial institutions to fund their commitments to us under our credit facility. Accordingly, we may not be able to obtain the full amount of the funds available under our credit facility to satisfy our cash requirements, and our failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial position.

We could be adversely affected if we are not able to attract and retain highly qualified senior personnel.

We are dependent on our ability to attract and retain highly qualified senior personnel. If, for any reason, we are not able to attract and retain qualified senior personnel, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected.

Risks Relating to Our Industry

We operate in a highly competitive industry, which could adversely affect us in many ways, including our profitability, our ability to grow, and our ability to manage our businesses.

We operate in the oil and gas industry and experience intense competition from other independent retail and wholesale gasoline marketing companies and ethanol producers. The U.S. marketing petroleum business is highly competitive, particularly with regard to accessing and marketing petroleum and other refined products. We compete with other chains of retail fuel stations for fuel supply and in the retail sale of refined products to end consumers, primarily on the basis of price, but also on the basis of convenience and consumer appeal. In addition, we may also face competition from other retail fueling stations that adopt marketing strategies similar to ours by associating with non-traditional retailers, such as supermarkets, discount club stores and hypermarkets, particularly in the geographic areas in which we operate. We expect that our industry will continue to trend toward this model, resulting in increased competition to us over time. Moreover, because we do not produce or refine any of the petroleum or other refined products that we market and Murphy Oil does not supply us with refined products, we compete with retail gasoline companies that have ongoing supply relationships with affiliates or former affiliates that manufacture refined products. We also compete with integrated companies that have their own production and/or refining operations that are at times able to offset losses from marketing operations with profits from producing or refining operations, and may be better positioned to withstand periods of depressed retail margins or supply shortages. In addition, we compete with other retail and wholesale gasoline marketing companies that have more extensive retail outlets and greater brand name recognition. Some of our competitors have been in existence longer than we have and have greater financial, marketing and other resources than we do. As a result, these competitors may have a greater ability to bear the economic risks inherent in all phases of our business and may be able to respond better to changes in the

19


 

economy and new opportunities within the industry. Such competition could adversely affect us, including our profitability, our ability to grow and our ability to manage our business.

In addition, the retail gasoline industry in the United States is highly competitive due to ease of entry and constant change in the number and type of retailers offering similar products and services. With respect to merchandise, our retail sites compete with other convenience store chains, independently owned convenience stores, supermarkets, drugstores, discount clubs, gasoline service stations, mass merchants, fast food operations and other similar retail outlets. In recent years, several non-traditional retailers, including supermarkets, discount club stores and mass merchants, have begun to compete directly with retail gasoline sites. These non-traditional gasoline retailers have obtained a significant share of the gasoline market, and their market share is expected to grow, and these retailers may use promotional pricing or discounts, both at the fuel pump and in the convenience store, to encourage in-store merchandise sales and gasoline sales. In addition, some large retailers and supermarkets are adjusting their store layouts and product prices in an attempt to appeal to convenience store customers. Major competitive factors include: location, ease of access, product and service selection, gasoline brands, pricing, customer service, store appearance, cleanliness and safety. Competition from these retailers may reduce our market share and our revenues, and the resulting impact on our business and results of operations could be materially adverse.

Changes in consumer behavior and travel as a result of changing economic conditions, the development of alternative energy technologies or otherwise could affect our business.

In the retail gasoline industry, customer traffic is generally driven by consumer preferences and spending trends, growth rates for commercial truck traffic and trends in travel and weather. Changes in economic conditions generally, or in the regions in which we operate, could adversely affect consumer spending patterns and travel in our markets. In particular, weakening economic conditions may result in decreases in miles driven and discretionary consumer spending and travel, which affect spending on gasoline and convenience items. In addition, changes in the types of products and services demanded by consumers may adversely affect our merchandise sales and gross margin. Additionally, negative publicity or perception surrounding gasoline suppliers could adversely affect their reputation and brand image, which may negatively affect our gasoline sales and gross margin. Our success depends on our ability to anticipate and respond in a timely manner to changing consumer demands and preferences while continuing to sell products and services that remain relevant to the consumer and thus will positively impact overall retail gross margin.

Similarly, advanced technology, improved fuel efficiency and increased use of “green” automobiles (e.g., those automobiles that do not use gasoline or that are powered by hybrid engines) would reduce demand for gasoline. Developments regarding climate change and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change and the environment may lead to increased use of “green” automobiles. Consequently, attitudes toward gasoline and its relationship to the environment may significantly affect our sales and ability to market our products. Reduced consumer demand for gasoline could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Our operations and earnings have been and will continue to be affected by worldwide political developments.

Many governments, including those that are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”), unilaterally intervene at times in the orderly market of petroleum and natural gas produced in their countries through such actions as setting prices, determining rates of production, and controlling who may buy and sell the production. In addition, prices and availability of petroleum, natural gas and refined products could be influenced by political unrest and by various governmental policies to restrict or increase petroleum usage and supply. Other governmental actions that could affect our operations and earnings include tax changes, royalty increases and regulations concerning: currency fluctuations, protection and remediation of the environment, concerns over the possibility of global warming being affected by human activity including the production and use of hydrocarbon energy, restraints and controls on imports and exports, safety, and relationships between employers and employees. As a retail gasoline marketing company, we are significantly affected by these factors. Because these and other factors are subject to changes caused by governmental and political

20


 

considerations and are often made in response to changing internal and worldwide economic conditions and to actions of other governments or specific events, it is not practical to attempt to predict the effects of such factors on our future operations and earnings.

Our business is subject to operational hazards and risks normally associated with the marketing of petroleum products.

We operate in many different locations around the United States. The occurrence of an event, including but not limited to acts of nature such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other forms of severe weather, and mechanical equipment failures, industrial accidents, fires, explosions, acts of war and intentional terrorist attacks could result in damage to our facilities, and the resulting interruption and loss of associated revenues; environmental pollution or contamination; and personal injury, including death, for which we could be deemed to be liable, and which could subject us to substantial fines and/or claims for punitive damages.

We store gasoline in storage tanks at our retail sites. Our operations are subject to significant hazards and risks inherent in storing gasoline. These hazards and risks include, but are not limited to, fires, explosions, spills, discharges and other releases, any of which could result in distribution difficulties and disruptions, environmental pollution, governmentally imposed fines or cleanup obligations, personal injury or wrongful death claims and other damage to our properties and the properties of others. Any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Certain of our assets such as gasoline terminals and certain retail fueling stations lie near the U.S. coastline and are vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm damages, which may result in shutdowns. The U.S. hurricane season runs from June through November, but the most severe storm activities usually occur in late summer, such as with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Although we maintain insurance for certain of these risks as described below, due to policy deductibles and possible coverage limits, weather-related risks are not fully insured.

We are subject to various environmental laws and regulations, which could expose us to significant expenditures, liabilities or obligations and reduce product demand.

We are subject to stringent federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations governing, among other things, the generation, storage, handling, use and transportation of petroleum products and hazardous materials; the emission and discharge of such substances into the environment; the content and characteristics of fuel products; the process safety of our facilities; and human health and safety. Pursuant to such environmental laws and regulations, we are also required to obtain permits from governmental authorities for certain of our operations. While we strive to abide by these requirements, we cannot assure you that we have been or will be at all times in compliance with such laws, regulations and permits. If we violate or fail to comply with these requirements, we could be subject to litigation, fines or other sanctions. Environmental requirements, and the enforcement and interpretation thereof, change frequently and have generally become more stringent over time. Compliance with existing and future environmental laws, regulations and permits may require significant expenditures. In addition, to the extent fuel content and characteristic standards increase our wholesale purchase costs, we may be adversely affected if we are unable to recover such costs in our pricing.

 We could be subject to joint and several as well as strict liability for environmental contamination, without regard to fault or the legality of our conduct. In particular, we could be liable for contamination relating to properties that we own, lease or operate or that we or our predecessors previously owned, leased or operated. Substantially all of these properties have or in the past had storage tanks to store motor fuel or petroleum products. Leaks from such tanks may impact soil or groundwater and could result in substantial cleanup costs. We could also be held responsible for contamination relating to third-party sites to which we or our predecessors have sent hazardous materials. In addition to potentially significant investigation and remediation costs, any such contamination, leaks from storage tanks or other releases of hazardous materials can give rise to claims from governmental authorities and other third parties for fines or penalties, natural resource damages, personal injury and property damage.

21


 

Our business is also affected by fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas (“GHG”) vehicle emission reduction measures. As such fuel economy and GHG reduction requirements become more stringent over time, consumer demand for our products may be adversely affected. In addition, some of our facilities are subject to GHG regulation. We are currently required to report annual GHG emissions from certain of our operations, and additional GHG emission-related requirements that may affect our business have been finalized or are in various phases of discussion or implementation. Any existing or future GHG emission requirements could result in increased operating costs and additional compliance expenses.

Our expenditures, liabilities and obligations relating to environmental matters could have a material adverse effect on our business, product demand, reputation, results of operations and financial condition.

Future tobacco legislation, campaigns to discourage smoking, increases in tobacco taxes and wholesale cost increases of tobacco products could have a material adverse impact on our retail operating revenues and gross margin.

Sales of tobacco products have historically accounted for an important portion of our total sales of convenience store merchandise. Significant increases in wholesale cigarette costs and tax increases on tobacco products, as well as future legislation and national and local campaigns to discourage smoking in the United States, may have an adverse effect on the demand for tobacco products, and therefore reduce our revenues and profits. Also, increasing regulations for e-cigarettes and vapor products could offset some of the recent gains we have experienced from selling these products.  Competitive pressures in our markets can make it difficult to pass price increases on to our customers. These factors could materially and adversely affect our retail price of cigarettes, cigarette unit volume and sales, merchandise gross margin and overall customer traffic. Reduced sales of tobacco products or smaller gross margins on the sales we make could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Currently, major cigarette manufacturers offer substantial rebates to retailers. We include these rebates as a component of our gross margin. In the event these rebates are no longer offered, or decreased, our profit from cigarette sales will decrease accordingly. In addition, reduced retail display allowances on cigarettes offered by cigarette manufacturers would negatively affect gross margins. These factors could materially affect our retail price of cigarettes, cigarette unit volume and revenues, merchandise gross margin and overall customer traffic, which could in turn have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Our retail operations are subject to extensive government laws and regulations, and the cost of compliance with such laws and regulations can be material.

Our retail operations are subject to extensive local, state and federal governmental laws and regulations relating to, among other things, the sale of alcohol, tobacco and money orders, employment conditions, including minimum wage requirements, and public accessibility requirements. The cost of compliance with these laws and regulations can have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, failure to comply with local, state and federal laws and regulations to which our operations are subject may result in penalties and costs that could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

In certain areas where our retail sites are located, state or local laws limit the retail sites’ hours of operation or their sale of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, possible inhalants and lottery tickets, in particular to minors. Failure to comply with these laws could adversely affect our revenues and results of operations because these state and local regulatory agencies have the power to revoke, suspend or deny applications for and renewals of permits and licenses relating to the sale of these products or to seek other remedies, such as the imposition of fines or other penalties.

 Regulations related to wages also affect our business. Any appreciable increase in the statutory minimum wage would result in an increase in our labor costs and such cost increase, or the penalties for failing to comply with such statutory minimums, could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

22


 

In compliance with U.S. health care reform legislation, we have implemented a “bronze level” health care offering to our eligible non-exempt field employees.  The offering is projected to increase labor costs by an immaterial amount in 2015.  To date, initial enrollment is lower than projected.  We expect that as awareness of the taxpayer non-compliance penalty and related increases in this penalty takes effect, enrollment will increase and such increases could be significant enough to materially affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Any changes in the laws or regulations described above that are adverse to us and our properties could affect our operating and financial performance. In addition, new regulations are proposed from time to time which, if adopted, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Future consumer or other litigation could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Our retail operations are characterized by a high volume of customer traffic and by transactions involving a wide array of product selections. These operations carry a higher exposure to consumer litigation risk when compared to the operations of companies operating in many other industries. Consequently, we have been, and may in the future be from time to time, involved in lawsuits seeking cash settlements for alleged personal injuries, property damages and other business-related matters, as well as energy content, off-specification gasoline, products liability and other legal actions in the ordinary course of our business. While these actions are generally routine in nature and incidental to the operation of our business, if our assessment of any action or actions should prove inaccurate, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected. For more information about our legal matters, see Note 18 “Contingencies” to the consolidated and combined historical financial statements for the three years ended December 31, 2014 included in this Form 10-K. Further, adverse publicity about consumer or other litigation may negatively affect us, regardless of whether the allegations are true, by discouraging customers from purchasing gasoline or merchandise at our retail sites.

We rely on our IT systems and network infrastructure to manage numerous aspects of our business, and a disruption of these systems could adversely affect our business.

We depend on our IT systems and network infrastructure to manage numerous aspects of our business and provide analytical information to management. These systems are an essential component of our business and growth strategies, and a serious disruption to them could significantly limit our ability to manage and operate our business efficiently. These systems are vulnerable to, among other things, damage and interruption from power loss or natural disasters, computer system and network failures, loss of telecommunications services, physical and electronic loss of data, security breaches and computer viruses, which could result in a loss of sensitive business information, systems interruption or the disruption of our business operations. To protect against unauthorized access or attacks, we have implemented infrastructure protection technologies and disaster recovery plans, but there can be no assurance that a technology systems breach or systems failure, which may occur and go undetected, will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

Our business and our reputation could be adversely affected by the failure to protect sensitive customer, employee or vendor data or to comply with applicable regulations relating to data security and privacy.

In the normal course of our business as a gasoline and merchandise retailer, we obtain large amounts of personal data, including credit and debit card information from our customers. While we have invested significant amounts in the protection of our IT systems and maintain what we believe are adequate security controls over individually identifiable customer, employee and vendor data provided to us, a breakdown or a breach in our systems that results in the unauthorized release of individually identifiable customer or other sensitive data could nonetheless occur and have a material adverse effect on our reputation, operating results and financial condition. Such a breakdown or breach could also materially increase the costs we incur to protect against such risks. Also, a material failure on our part to comply with regulations relating to our obligation to protect such sensitive data or to the privacy rights of

23


 

our customers, employees and others could subject us to fines or other regulatory sanctions and potentially to lawsuits.

 Compliance with and changes in tax laws could adversely affect our performance.

We are subject to extensive tax liabilities imposed by multiple jurisdictions, including income taxes, indirect taxes (excise/duty, sales/use and gross receipts taxes), payroll taxes, franchise taxes, withholding taxes and ad valorem taxes. New tax laws and regulations and changes in existing tax laws and regulations are continuously being enacted or proposed that could result in increased expenditures for tax liabilities in the future. Many of these liabilities are subject to periodic audits by the respective taxing authority. Subsequent changes to our tax liabilities as a result of these audits may subject us to interest and penalties.

Risks Relating to Our Common Stock

The price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly and if securities or industry analysts publish unfavorable research reports about our business or if they downgrade their rating on our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline.

The price at which our common stock trades may fluctuate significantly.  The trading price of our common stock could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to a number of factors, including, but not limited to:

·

fluctuations in quarterly or annual results of operations, especially if they differ from our previously announced guidance or forecasts made by analysts;

·

announcements by us of anticipated future revenues or operating results, or by others concerning us, our competitors, our customers, or our industry;

·

our ability to execute our business plan;

·

competitive environment;

·

regulatory developments;

·

limited analyst coverage; and

·

changes in overall stock market conditions, including the stock prices of our competitors.

Provisions in our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws and certain provisions of Delaware law could delay or prevent a change in control of us.

The existence of some provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws and Delaware law could discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of us that a stockholder may consider favorable. These include provisions:

·

providing for a classified board of directors;

·

providing that our directors may be removed by our stockholders only for cause;

·

establishing supermajority vote requirements for our shareholders to amend certain provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation and our Bylaws;

·

authorizing a large number of shares of stock that are not yet issued, which would allow our board of directors to issue shares to persons friendly to current management, thereby protecting the continuity of our management, or which could be used to dilute the stock ownership of persons seeking to obtain control of us;

24


 

·

prohibiting stockholders from calling special meetings of stockholders or taking action by written consent; and

·

establishing advance notice requirements for nominations of candidates for election to our board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted on by stockholders at the annual stockholder meetings.

In addition, we are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which may have an anti-takeover effect with respect to transactions not approved in advance by our board of directors, including discouraging takeover attempts that could have resulted in a premium over the market price for shares of our common stock.

These provisions apply even if a takeover offer may be considered beneficial by some stockholders and could delay or prevent an acquisition that our board of directors determines is not in our and our stockholders’ best interests.

We may issue preferred stock with terms that could dilute the voting power or reduce the value of our common stock.

Our Certificate of Incorporation authorizes us to issue, without the approval of our stockholders, one or more classes or series of preferred stock having such designations, powers, preferences and relative, participating, optional and other rights, and such qualifications, limitations or restrictions as our board of directors generally may determine. The terms of one or more classes or series of preferred stock could dilute the voting power or reduce the value of our common stock. For example, we could grant holders of preferred stock the right to elect some number of our directors in all events or on the happening of specified events or the right to veto specified transactions. Similarly, the repurchase or redemption rights or dividend, distribution or liquidation preferences we could assign to holders of preferred stock could affect the residual value of the common stock.

Our Bylaws designate a state or federal court located within the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a preferred judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.

Our Bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any director, officer or other employee to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of Delaware General Corporation Law, our Certificate of Incorporation (including any certificate of designations for any class or series of our preferred stock) or our Bylaws, in each case, as amended from time to time, or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine shall be a state or federal court located within the State of Delaware, in all cases subject to the court’s having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock is deemed to have received notice of and consented to the foregoing provision. This forum selection provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable or cost-effective for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and employees.

We may not achieve the intended benefits of having an exclusive forum provision if it is found to be unenforceable.

We have included an exclusive forum provision in our Bylaws as described above. However, the enforceability of similar exclusive jurisdiction provisions in other companies’ bylaws or certificates of incorporation has been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with any action, a court could find the exclusive jurisdiction provision contained in our Bylaws to be inapplicable or unenforceable in such action. Although in June 2013 the Delaware Court of Chancery upheld the statutory and contractual validity of exclusive forum-selection bylaw provisions, the validity of such provisions is not yet settled law under the laws of Delaware. Furthermore, the Delaware Court of Chancery emphasized that such provisions may not be enforceable under circumstances where they are found to operate in an

25


 

unreasonable or unlawful manner or in a manner inconsistent with a board’s fiduciary duties. Also, it is uncertain whether non-Delaware courts consistently will enforce such exclusive forum-selection bylaw provisions. If a court were to find our choice of forum provision inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions and we may not obtain the benefits of limiting jurisdiction to the courts selected.

 

Item 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

The Company had no unresolved comments from the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as of December 31, 2014.

 

Item 2.  PROPERTIES

 

Descriptions of the Company’s properties are included in Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K report beginning on page 2

 

Item 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

Murphy USA and its subsidiaries are engaged in a number of legal proceedings, all of which Murphy USA considers incidental to its business.  See Note 18 “Contingencies” in the accompanying consolidated and combined financial statements for the three years ended December 31, 2014.  Based on information currently available to the Company, the ultimate resolution of matters referred to in this item is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s net income, financial condition, or liquidity in a future period. 

 

In the case Freeny v. Murphy Oil Corporation and Murphy Oil USA, Inc., the plaintiffs allege that the Company has infringed on their electronic pricing system patent.  The Company’s claim is that our pricing system can be differentiated and in fact we have our own patent for our pricing system.  Murphy Oil USA, Inc. has agreed to defend and indemnify Murphy Oil Corporation in this matter as required by the terms of the Separation Agreement.  We are unable to estimate potential damages at this point and we are defending the claim vigorously.  Trial is currently set for June 2015.  At this time, management believes the probability of loss in this case is remote.  However, it is possible that an unfavorable outcome of this lawsuit or other contingency could have a material impact on the liquidity, results of operations, or financial condition of the Company in future periods. 

 

 

Item 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable

 

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION;  Executive Officers of the Registrant

 

The age at January 1, 2015, present corporate office and length of service in office of each of the Company’s executive officers are reported in the following listing.  Executive officers are elected annually but may be removed from office at any time by the Board of Directors.

 

R. Andrew Clyde – Age 51; President and Chief Executive Officer, Director and Member of the Executive Committee since August 2013.  Mr. Clyde led the Company’s Separation from Murphy Oil Corporation beginning in January 2013. Previously, Mr. Clyde served at Booz & Company (and prior to August 2008, Booz Allen Hamilton), from 1993 to 2013 where he was a partner in the Firm and led the North American Energy Practice. He served energy and retail clients, including Murphy USA, bringing expertise in strategy development, organization effectiveness and performance improvement.  Mr. Clyde received a Masters in Management with Distinction from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He received a BBA in Accounting from Southern Methodist University.  

 

26


 

Mindy K. West  Age 45; Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since August 2013.  Ms. West joined Murphy Oil in 1996 and has held positions in Accounting, Employee Benefits, Planning and Investor Relations. In 2007, she was promoted to Vice President & Treasurer for Murphy Oil. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Arkansas and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Southern Arkansas University. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Treasury Professional. 

 

Jeffery A. Goodwin – Age 56; Senior Vice President, Retail Operations since August 2013. Mr. Goodwin joined Murphy Oil in 2001 as District Manager in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2002, he was promoted to Maintenance Manager and transferred to El Dorado. He was promoted to Division Manager in 2003, then to Region Manager in 2006. In 2008, Mr. Goodwin was promoted to Vice President, Retail Operations and to Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in 2012. Mr. Goodwin holds a bachelor’s degree in Business from Widener University. Mr. Goodwin has announced his retirement from the Company effective March 31, 2015. 

 

Marn K. Cheng  Age 49; Senior Vice President, Retail Operations & Support since February 2015; Senior Vice President, Retail Operations Support August 2013 to February 2015. Mr. Cheng joined Murphy Oil in 2000 as District Manager in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He held several positions within Murphy Oil before being promoted to General Manager, Retail Marketing in 2006. In 2008, he was named Regional Vice President for Murphy USA Marketing Company, a division of Murphy Oil USA, Inc. before serving as Vice President, Retail Operations. He was promoted to Vice President, Renewable Energy for Murphy Oil USA, Inc. in 2009. He returned to the retail marketing division in 2011 as Vice President, Fuels for Murphy USA Marketing Company and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in 2012. Mr. Cheng graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and also holds an MBA from Texas Tech University.

John A. Moore – Age 47; Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary since August 2013. Mr. Moore joined Murphy Oil in 1995 as Associate Attorney in the Law Department. He was promoted to Attorney in 1998 and Senior Attorney in 2005. He was promoted to Manager, Law and assumed the role of Corporate Secretary for Murphy Oil in 2011. Mr. Moore holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Ouachita Baptist University and a Law degree from the University of Arkansas.

Joseph Henderson, III – Age 40; Vice President, Fuels Marketing since August 2013.  Mr. Henderson joined Murphy Oil Corporation in 2002 as District Manager in Houston, Texas. In 2003, he moved to El Dorado where he has since served in numerous fuel supply and marketing roles. Currently, Henderson manages the Fuels Marketing businesses which include all activities associated with purchasing and selling fuel on both a retail and wholesale basis. In addition, Henderson's responsibility in the Fuels Marketing department includes managing the Company's seven wholly owned fuel terminals.  Mr. Henderson graduated from Texas Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications and also holds an MBA from Harding University.

 

 

 

 

 

27


 

Part II

 

Item 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

The Company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange using “MUSA” as the trading symbol.  There were 2,565 stockholders of record as of December 31, 2014.  The following table reflects the high and low sales prices of our common stock for the period starting September 2, 2013, the date on which our stock began trading "regular-way" on the NYSE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock Price

 

High

 

Low

 

2013

 

 

Period from September 2, 2013 through December 31, 2013

46.91 

 

36.12 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

 

 

 

January 1, 2014 - March 31, 2014

43.25 

 

37.55 

 

April 1, 2014 - June 30, 2014

52.34 

 

39.96 

 

July 1, 2014 - September 30, 2014

55.64 

 

47.26 

 

October 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014

69.37 

 

49.63 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The declaration and amount of any dividends to holders of our common stock will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon many factors, including our financial condition, earnings, cash flows, capital requirements of our business, covenants associated with our debt obligations, legal requirements, regulatory constraints, industry practice and other factors the board of directors deems relevant. 

We are a holding company and have no direct operations. As a result, we will be able to pay dividends on our common stock only from available cash on hand and distributions received from our subsidiaries. There can be no assurance we will continue to pay any dividend even if we commence the payment of dividends.  We did not declare any cash dividends on our common stock for the two years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013.

The indenture governing the Senior Notes and the credit agreement governing our credit facilities contain restrictive covenants that limit, among other things, the ability of Murphy USA and the restricted subsidiaries to make certain restricted payments, which as defined under both agreements, include the declaration or payment of any dividends of any sort in respect of its capital stock and repurchase of shares of our common stock.  See “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Operating Results—Capital Resources and Liquidity—Debt” and Note 8 “Long-Term Debt” to the accompanying audited consolidated and combined financial statements for the three years ended December 31, 2014.

In May 2014, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a stock repurchase plan of up to $50 million of the Company’s common stock.  This plan was completed in May 2014.  In October 2014, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a second stock repurchase plan of up to $250 million of the Company’s common stock to be executed by December 31, 2015.  Information pertaining to this plan for the fourth quarter of 2014 is presented in the table below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28


 

 

 

 

 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Number

 

Approximate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of Shares

 

Dollar Value of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchased as

 

Shares That May

 

 

 

 

Total Number

 

Average

 

Part of Publicly

 

Yet Be Purchased

 

 

 

 

of Shares

 

Price Paid

 

Accounced Plans

 

Under the Plans

Period Duration

 

Purchased

 

Per Share

 

or Programs

 

or Programs 1

October 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014

 

 

 —

 

$

 —

 

 

 —

 

$

 —

November 1, 2014 to November 30, 2014

 

 

1,649 

 

 

61.00 

 

 

1,649 

 

 

249,899,411 

December 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014

 

 

20,121 

 

 

60.96 

 

 

20,121 

 

 

248,672,835 

Three Months Ended December 31, 2014

 

 

21,770 

 

$

60.97 

 

 

21,770 

 

$

248,672,835 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)

Terms of the repurchase plan authorized by the Murphy USA Inc. Board of Directors include authorization for the Company to acquire up to $250 million of its Common shares by December 31, 2015.  

Equity Compensation Plan Information

The table below contains information about securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans. The features of these plans are discussed further in Note 11 “Incentive Plans” to our audited consolidated and combined financial statements.

 

 

 

 

 

Plan category

Number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options, warrants and rights (1) 

Weighted-average exercise price of outstanding options, warrants and rights

Number of securities remaining available for future issuance under equity compensation plans (excluding securities reflected in column (a)) (2)

 

(a)

(b)

(c)

Equity compensation plans approved by security holders

1,180,500

$36.00

4,730,045

Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders

-

-

-

Total

1,180,500

$36.00

4,730,045

 

(1) Amounts in this column do not take into account outstanding restricted stock units.

(2) Number of shares available for issuance includes 4,280,895 available shares under the 2013 Long-Term Incentive Plan as of December 31, 2014 plus 449,150 available shares under the 2013 Stock Plan for Non-Employee Directors as of December 31, 2014.  Assumes each restricted stock unit is equivalent to one share and each performance unit is equal to two shares.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29


 

 

SHAREHOLDER RETURN PERFORMANCE PRESENTATION

 

The following graph presents a comparison of cumulative total shareholder returns (including the reinvestment of dividends) as if a $100 investment was made on August 21, 2013 (the first date at which MUSA common equity was traded on the NYSE) for the Company, the Standard and Poor’s 500 Stock Index Fund (S&P 500 Index) and the S&P 400 Midcap Index.  This performance information is “furnished” by the Company and is not considered as “filed” with this Annual Report on Form 10-K and is not incorporated into any document that incorporates this Annual Report on Form 10-K by reference. 

 

stock price 2.PNG

 

 

30


 

Item 6.  SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Thousands of dollars, except per share data)

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

2011

 

2010

Results of Operations for the Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales and other operating revenues

 

$

17,209,919 

 

$

18,083,335 

 

$

19,301,308 

 

$

18,919,216 

 

$

15,356,057 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

$

305,582 

 

$

356,698 

 

$

237,427 

 

$

188,373 

 

$

355,883 

Income from continuing operations

 

$

243,082 

 

$

156,326 

 

$

86,414 

 

$

187,853 

 

$

126,069 

Net income (loss)

 

$

243,863 

 

$

235,033 

 

$

83,568 

 

$

324,020 

 

$

157,441 

Per Common Share - diluted (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income (loss) from continuing operations

 

$

5.24 

 

$

3.34 

 

$

1.85 

 

$

4.02 

 

$

2.70 

Income (loss) from discontinued operations

 

$

0.02 

 

$

1.68 

 

$

(0.06)

 

$

2.91 

 

$

0.67 

Net income (loss)

 

$

5.26 

 

$

5.02 

 

$

1.79 

 

$

6.93 

 

$

3.37 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital Expenditures for the Year (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing

 

$

131,139 

 

$

162,051 

 

$

103,152 

 

$

77,481 

 

$

176,882 

Corporate and other

 

 

7,749 

 

 

9,402 

 

 

1,344 

 

 

22,338 

 

 

Subtotal

 

$

138,888 

 

$

171,453 

 

$

104,496 

 

$

99,819 

 

$

176,886 

Discontinued operations

 

 

 —

 

 

519 

 

 

7,097 

 

 

361 

 

 

4,812 

Total capital expenditures

 

$

138,888 

 

$

171,972 

 

$

111,593 

 

$

100,180 

 

$

181,698 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial condition at December 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current ratio

 

 

1.61 

 

 

1.30 

 

 

1.12 

 

 

1.19 

 

 

1.11 

Working capital

 

$

252,802 

 

$

155,899 

 

$

88,053 

 

$

95,801 

 

$

103,651 

Net property, plant and equipment

 

$

1,253,124 

 

$

1,190,723 

 

$

1,169,960 

 

$

1,196,323 

 

$

1,166,169 

Total assets (at period end)

 

$

1,934,257 

 

$

1,881,242 

 

$

1,992,465 

 

$

1,784,983 

 

$

2,978,753 

Long term debt (at period end)

 

$

492,443 

 

$

547,578 

 

$

1,124 

 

$

1,170 

 

$

1,213 

Stockholders' equity/net parent investment

 

$

858,705 

 

$

656,336 

 

$

1,104,451 

 

$

1,118,947 

 

$

1,808,150 

Long term debt - percent of capital employed

 

 

36.4% 

 

 

45.5% 

 

 

0.1% 

 

 

0.1% 

 

 

0.1% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)  For the years ended December 31, 2010 through December 31, 2012, the number of diluted shares used at period end for the calculation is based on the number of shares issued at the date of the Separation from Murphy Oil on August 30, 2013.

(2)  Does not include acquisition of ethanol plant assets in 2010.

 

 

31


 

Item 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

Overview

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition (“Management’s Discussion and Analysis”) is the Company’s analysis of its financial performance and of significant trends that may affect future performance. It should be read in conjunction with the consolidated and combined financial statements and notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. It contains forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements relating to the Company’s plans, strategies, objectives, expectations and intentions. The words “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “budget,” “continue,” “could,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “expect,” “objective,” “projection,” “forecast,” “goal,” “guidance,” “outlook,” “effort,” “target” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update, revise or correct any of the forward-looking information unless required to do so under the federal securities laws. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements should be read in conjunction with the Company’s disclosures under “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

For purposes of this Management’s Discussion and Analysis, references to “Murphy USA”, the “Company”, “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Murphy USA Inc. and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.  For periods prior to completion of the Separation from Murphy Oil Corporation (“Murphy Oil” ), these terms refer to Murphy Oil’s U.S. retail marketing business and other assets and liabilities that were contributed to Murphy USA in connection with the Separation, including an allocable portion of Murphy Oil’s corporate costs, on a combined basis.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis is organized as follows:

 

·

   Executive Overview—This section provides an overview of our business and the results of operations and financial condition for the periods presented. It includes information on the basis of presentation with respect to the amounts presented in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis and a discussion of the trends affecting our business.

 

·

   Results of OperationsThis section provides an analysis of our results of operations, including the results of our business segments for the three years ended December 31, 2014.

 

·

   Capital Resources and LiquidityThis section provides a discussion of our financial condition and cash flows as of and for the three years ended December 31, 2014. It also includes a discussion of our capital structure and available sources of liquidity.

 

·

   Critical Accounting PoliciesThis section describes the accounting policies and estimates that we consider most important for our business and that require significant judgment.

 

Executive Overview

 

Our Business and Separation from Murphy Oil

 

Our business consists primarily of the U.S. retail marketing business that was separated from Murphy Oil, our former parent company, plus one remaining ethanol production facility and other assets, liabilities and operating expenses of Murphy Oil that are associated with supporting the activities of the U.S. retail marketing operations.  The Separation was completed on August 30, 2013 through the distribution of 100% of the outstanding capital stock of Murphy USA to holders of Murphy Oil common stock on the record date of August 21, 2013. Murphy Oil stockholders of record received one share of Murphy USA common stock for every four shares of Murphy Oil common stock.  The Separation was completed in accordance with a separation and distribution agreement entered into between Murphy Oil and Murphy USA. Following the Separation, Murphy Oil retained no ownership interest in Murphy USA.

 

We market refined products through a network of retail gasoline stations and unbranded wholesale customers. Our owned retail stations are almost all located near Walmart stores and use the brand name

32


 

Murphy USA®. We also market gasoline and other products at standalone stations under the Murphy Express brand. At December 31, 2014, we had a total of 1,263 Company stations in 23 states, principally in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest United States.

 

In conjunction with the Separation, Murphy Oil received a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service to the effect that the distribution will not result in any taxable income, gain or loss to Murphy Oil, except for taxable income or gain arising as a result of certain intercompany transactions, and no gain or loss will be recognized by (and no amount will be included in the income of) U.S holders of Murphy Oil common stock upon their receipt of shares of Murphy USA common stock in the distribution, except with respect to cash received in lieu of fractional shares of Murphy USA common stock.

 

Basis of Presentation

 

Murphy USA was incorporated in March 2013 in contemplation of the Separation, and until the Separation was completed on August 30, 2013, it had not commenced operations and had no material assets, liabilities or commitments.  Accordingly, the financial information presented in this Management’s Discussion and Analysis and the accompanying consolidated and combined financial statements reflect the combined historical results of operations, financial position and cash flows of the Murphy Oil subsidiaries and certain assets, liabilities, and operating expenses of Murphy Oil that comprise Murphy USA, as described above, as if such companies and accounts had been combined for all periods presented prior to August 30, 2013.

 

For the period prior to Separation, the consolidated and combined income statements also include expense allocations for certain corporate functions historically performed by Murphy Oil, including allocations of general corporate expenses related to executive oversight, accounting, treasury, tax, legal, procurement and information technology. These allocations are based primarily on specific identification, headcount or computer utilization. Murphy USA’s management believes the assumptions underlying the consolidated and combined financial statements, including the assumptions regarding allocating general corporate expenses from Murphy Oil, are reasonable. However, these consolidated and combined financial statements may not include all of the actual expenses that would have been incurred had the Company been a stand-alone company during the period prior to Separation and may not reflect the combined results of operations, financial position and cash flows had the Company been a stand-alone company during the entirety of the periods presented.

 

Actual costs that would have been incurred if Murphy USA had been a stand-alone company would depend upon multiple factors, including organizational structure and strategic decisions made in operational areas, including information technology and infrastructure.

 

Subsequent to the Separation, Murphy Oil continues to perform certain of these corporate functions on our behalf, for which we are charged a fee in accordance with the Transition Services Agreement entered into between Murphy Oil and Murphy USA on August 30, 2013 (the “Transition Services Agreement”).  There are also some services that are performed by Murphy USA on behalf of Murphy Oil and these are also being handled in accordance with the Transition Services Agreement.

 

The consolidated financial statements reflect our financial results for all periods subsequent to the Separation while the combined financial statements reflect our financial results for all periods prior to the Separation.  Accordingly:

 

·

Our consolidated and combined statement of income and comprehensive income for the year ended December 31, 2013, consists of the consolidated results of Murphy USA for the four months ended December 31, 2013 and the combined results of Murphy Oil’s U.S. retail marketing business for the eight months ended August 31, 2013.  Our combined income statements and comprehensive income for the year  ended December 31, 2012 consists entirely of the combined results of Murphy Oil’s U.S. retail marketing business.

 

·

Our consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2013, consists of the consolidated balances of Murphy USA.

 

·

Our consolidated and combined statement of cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2013, consists of the consolidated results of Murphy USA for the four months ended December 31, 2013

33


 

and the combined results of Murphy Oil’s U.S. retail marketing business for the eight months ended August 31, 2013.  Our combined statement of cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2012, consists entirely of the combined results of Murphy Oil’s U.S. retail marketing business.

 

·

Our consolidated and combined statement of changes in equity for the year ended December 31, 2013, consists of both the combined activity for Murphy Oil’s U.S. retail marketing business prior to August 30, 2013, and the consolidated activity of Murphy USA subsequent to the Separation. Our combined statement of changes in equity for the year ended December 31, 2012, consists entirely of the combined results of Murphy Oil’s U.S. retail marketing business.  

 

Trends Affecting Our Business

 

Our operations are significantly impacted by the gross margins we receive on our fuel sales. These gross margins are commodity-based, change daily and are volatile. While we expect our total fuel sales volumes to grow and the gross margins we realize on those sales to remain strong, these gross margins can change rapidly due to many factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, the price of refined products, interruptions in supply caused by severe weather, severe refinery mechanical failures for an extended period of time, and competition in the local markets in which we operate. In addition, our ethanol production operations are impacted by the price of corn, and may be affected by future droughts and unfavorable planting and harvesting conditions and by ethanol demand levels in the United States which can be impacted by foreign imports and Federal and state regulations.

 

The cost of our main sales products, gasoline and diesel, is greatly impacted by the cost of crude oil in the United States. Generally, rising prices for crude oil increase the Company’s cost for wholesale fuel products purchased. When wholesale fuel costs rise, the Company is not always able to immediately pass these price increases on to its retail customers at the pump, which in turn squeezes the Company’s sales margin. Also, rising prices tend to cause our customers to reduce discretionary fuel consumption, which tends to reduce our fuel sales volumes. Crude oil prices plummeted in the last 6 months of 2014 by nearly 50%.  This led to larger than normal retail margins for the third and fourth quarters of the year ended December 31, 2014 Margins into 2015 started strong but have weakened considerably as crude price volatility has leveled out and crude prices have started increasing which has a negative impact on retailers.   

 

In addition, our revenues are impacted by our ability to leverage our diverse supply infrastructure in pursuit of obtaining the lowest cost of fuel supply available; for example, activities such as blending bulk fuel with ethanol and bio-diesel to capture and subsequently sell Renewable Identification Numbers (“RINs”).  Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is authorized to set annual quotas establishing the percentage of motor fuels consumed in the United States that must be attributable to renewable fuels. Companies that blend fuels are required to demonstrate that they have met any applicable quotas by submitting a certain amount of RINs to the EPA. RINs in excess of the set quota (as well as RINs captured by companies such as ours that are not subject to quotas) can then be sold in a market for RINs at then-prevailing prices.  The market price for RINs fluctuates based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to governmental and regulatory action.  In recent historical periods, we have benefited by our ability to attain RINs and sell them at favorable prices in the market.  RIN prices have been fairly stable throughout 2014 and into early 2015 as uncertainty remains in the market due to a lack of governmental action related to standards for 2014.  Our business model does not depend on our ability to generate revenues from RINs.  Revenue from the sales of RINs is included in “Ethanol sales and other” in the Consolidated and Combined Income Statements.

 

In August 2013, in connection with the Separation, we incurred $650 million of new debt from the issuance of senior secured notes and borrowings under the credit facilities, which we used to finance a cash dividend to Murphy Oil immediately prior to the Separation. We have already repaid $150 million of this debt, which was represented by a term loan.    We believe that we will generate sufficient cash from operations to fund our ongoing operating requirements. We expect to use the credit facilities to provide us with available financing intended to meet any ongoing cash needs in excess of internally generated cash flows. To the extent necessary, we will borrow under these facilities to fund our ongoing operating requirements. At December 31, 2014, we have additional available capacity under the committed $450 million credit facilities (subject to the borrowing base), together with capacity under a $200 million

34


 

incremental uncommitted facility. There can be no assurances, however, that we will generate sufficient cash from operations or be able to draw on the credit facilities, obtain commitments for our incremental facility and/or obtain and draw upon other credit facilities.

 

On December 21, 2012, we signed an agreement with Walmart providing for the potential purchase of land to develop approximately 200 new Company stations located adjacent to existing Walmart stores in Walmart’s core market area covering the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest United States. The construction program is expected to be completed over the next few years at a rate of 60 to 80 stores per year. In connection with this agreement, we expect to incur additional station operating and depreciation expenses due to the addition of new stores. However, we can provide no assurance that we will develop all or any of the sites as contemplated under the agreement. See “Risk Factors – Risk Relating to Our Business – Our ability to continue to generate revenue and operating income depends on our continued relationship with Walmart” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.  The Company currently anticipates total capital expenditures (including purchases of Walmart properties and other land for future development) for the full year 2015 to range from approximately $230 million to $270 million depending on how many new sites are completed.  We intend to fund our capital program in 2015 primarily using operating cash flow, but will supplement funding where necessary using borrowings under available credit facilities.

 

We believe that our business will continue to grow in the future as we expect to build additional locations in close proximity to Walmart stores and other locations chosen by our real estate development team that have the characteristics we look for in a strong site. The pace of this growth is continually monitored by our management, and these plans can be altered based on operating cash flows generated and the availability of debt facilities.

 

Seasonality

 

Our business has inherent seasonality due to the concentration of our retail sites in certain geographic areas, as well as customer behaviors during different seasons.  In general, sales volumes and operating incomes are highest in the second and third quarters during the summer activity months and lowest during the winter months. 

 

Business Segments

Our business is organized into one reporting segment (Marketing).  The Marketing segment includes our retail marketing sites and product supply and wholesale assets. Prior to December 2013, we also had an Ethanol segment which consisted of our ethanol production facilities located in Hankinson, North Dakota and in Hereford, Texas. After the Hankinson facility was sold in December 2013, we reassessed our segments and due to its small size, we have included the remainder of the former Ethanol segment in prior “Corporate” section which has been renamed “Corporate and other assetsTherefore, we have restated our segments for 2013 and all prior periods to reflect one remaining reporting segment, Marketing.  The Hereford facility began operations in early 2011 and we wrote down the carrying value at this facility at year end 2012 due to expectations of continued weak margins in the future.  We are currently considering strategic alternatives for the remaining Hereford ethanol facility. As part of this effort, we are evaluating various factors including the appropriate timing and market conditions to maximize value in any potential sale; however, a final decision has not yet been determined and this remaining ethanol asset does not meet the criteria for “held for sale” presentation at this time. Therefore, historical financial results for the Hereford plant are included in continuing operations for all periods presented.

For operating segment information, see Note 20 “Business Segments” in the accompanying audited consolidated and combined financial statements for the three-year period ended December 31, 2014. 

 

 

35


 

Results of Operations

 

Consolidated and Combined Results

 

For the year ended December 31, 2014, the Company reported net income of $243.9 million or $5.26 per diluted share on revenue of $17.21 billion.  Net income was $235.0 million for 2013 or $5.02 per diluted share on $18.08 billion in revenue. 

 

A summary of the Company’s earnings by business segment follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year ended December 31,

(thousands of dollars)

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

Marketing

 

$

242,434 

 

$

164,013 

 

$

139,583 

Corporate and other assets

 

 

648 

 

 

(7,687)

 

 

(53,169)

Subtotal

 

 

243,082 

 

 

156,326 

 

 

86,414 

Discontinued operations

 

 

781 

 

 

78,707 

 

 

(2,846)

Net income

 

$

243,863 

 

$

235,033 

 

$

83,568 

 

Net income for 2014 increased compared to 2013 primarily due to:

·

Higher retail fuel margins in the 2014 period;

·

Increased sales volumes in total and on a per site basis in 2014;

·

Higher contribution from the Hereford ethanol facility in 2014; and

·

Improved merchandise margin dollars in 2014.

 

Net income for the year ended December 31, 2013 increased compared to the prior year primarily due to:

·

Increased prices for RINs in 2013 over the prior year;

·

Income in our remaining ethanol plant operations because of higher crack spreads due to lower corn costs and higher ethanol prices;

·

Slightly improved fuel margins in our retail marketing business; and

·

Sale of Hankinson ethanol subsidiary in December 2013 generated a large gain in discontinued operations.

 

 

2014 versus 2013

Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2014 declined $873 million, or 4.8%, compared to 2013.  Leading the decline was a decrease in retail fuel prices of 16.5 cents per gallon (cpg) for the full year combined with lower wholesale prices.  Lower wholesale volumes for the year also played a part in the decline but were partially offset by increases in retail fuel volumes of 4.8% in total, partially due to increased store count. 

Cost of sales on a combined basis declined $1.02 billion, or 6.0%, compared to 2013.  This decline was due to significantly lower wholesale prices of motor fuel for both retail and wholesale as a result of the large decline in crude oil prices in the latter half of the year. 

Station and other operating expenses were higher in 2014 than in 2013 due primarily to the addition of 60 new stores in 2014 compared to 39 stores added in 2013.  On an average per store month (APSM) basis, the expenses applicable to the retail marketing business increased 1.7% in 2014.  The largest area of increase was in maintenance expense as we invested more in site upgrades and repairs to reinvest in our brand image. 

Selling, general and administrative expenses for 2014 were lower by $12.1 million.  The 2013 amount contained $15.4 million of spin related and other one-time, non-recurring charges.  After

36


 

adjusting for those items, selling, general and administrative expense in 2014 is slightly higher by $3.3 million which was primarily related to higher employee benefit costs. 

Interest expense in 2014 increased by $22.1 million compared to 2013 due to 2014 containing a full year of interest expense on the debt issued by the Company at the separation date from Murphy Oil.  The 2014 interest expense benefited by the May 2014 payoff of the remainder of the term loan of $150 million that was paid off over 2 years early.  The 2014 period also includes a charge of $1.9 million related to a write-off of deferred debt costs for the recently repaid term loan. 

Other nonoperating income is up $11.0 million in the current year due primarily to settlement of an outstanding legal case in 2014.

Income tax expense is higher in 2014 by $25.0 million due to higher pre-tax earnings in 2014.  The effective rate in 2014 is 34.2% compared to an effective rate of 39.3% for 2013.  The 2014 rate benefited from a state income tax benefit of $6.8 million and $9.8 million in tax benefits related to settlement of tax contingencies and other matters that did not exist in 2013 results. 

Income from discontinued operations is lower in the 2014 period by $77.9 million as the 2013 amount contained income from operations of Hankinson for the majority of the year combined with the gain on sale.  The amounts in 2014 represent the settlement of final working capital balances which resulted in a small gain on an after-tax basis. 

 

2013 versus 2012

 

Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2013 decreased $1.22 billion, or 6.3%, compared to 2012.  Significant items impacting these results include a decline in the price of retail fuel of 9.9 cpg, one less month of the Walmart $0.10/$0.15 per gallon discount program, a less favorable wholesale price environment during the year and overall weaker consumer demand partially offset by an increase in total retail fuel volumes sold of 0.8% which is partially attributable to an increased store count.   

 

Cost of sales on a combined basis decreased $1.31 billion, or 7.1%, compared to 2012.  This decline is primarily due to a decrease in the purchase price of motor fuel for both the retail and wholesale locations.  Partially offsetting this decline was an increase in cost of sales for the increased store count in 2013.   

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses for 2013 have increased $19.9 million, however this number includes $15.4 million of spin related and other one-time, non-recurring charges.  The remainder of the selling, general and administrative cost increases is due primarily to higher allocations of corporate charges from Murphy Oil for the 2013 period compared to the 2012 period for the periods prior to the Separation. 

 

Interest expense is higher in 2013 compared to 2012 due to the issuance in mid-August 2013 of the $500 million Senior Notes to partially fund the cash dividend to Murphy Oil of $650 million paid at the completion of the Separation. In addition, concurrent with the Separation, the Company borrowed $150 million in a term loan under its credit facilities.  As these borrowings did not exist in the prior year, there is a large increase in interest expense that is in line with the transactions closed by management pre-spin. 

 

Gain on sale of assets contains a gain of $6.0 million due to the sale of our North Dakota crude supply assets during the period.  These assets were a holdover from the Superior, Wisconsin refinery that was sold in 2011 and were deemed by management to be non-core to the Company. 

 

Income tax expense increased in the period primarily due to the increase in pre-tax earnings.  The tax rate is at 39.3% for 2013 and 42.5% for 2012.   The 2012 effective rate is higher due to losses at the Hereford ethanol plant with no related state benefit that affected the mix of income/loss, which had the effect of raising the effective rate in 2012. 

 

Income from discontinued operations for 2013 is $78.7 million, net of tax of $42.3 million compared to a loss of $2.8 million in 2012, net of tax benefit of $1.5 million.  The 2013 income from discontinued operations contains a gain on sale of the Hankinson ethanol facility of $52.5 million, net of tax of $28.3 million.  The facility was sold in December 2013.   

37


 

Segment Results

 

Marketing

 

Net income in the Marketing segment for 2014 increased $78.4 million, or 47.8%, over 2013.  The primary reason for this increase was a significant increase in results from retail marketing due to the higher retail margins experienced in 2014.  These improved results were partially offset by lower performance from the product supply and wholesale operations of the Company.   

 

The table below shows the results for the Marketing segment for the three years ended December 31, 2014 along with certain key metrics for the segment. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Thousands of dollars, except volume per store month and margins)

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

Marketing Segment

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petroleum product sales

 

$

14,728,527 

 

$

15,560,317 

 

$

16,854,985 

Merchandise sales

 

 

2,161,378 

 

 

2,159,466 

 

 

2,144,347 

Other

 

 

95,998 

 

 

94,298 

 

 

11,708 

Total revenues

 

$

16,985,903 

 

$

17,814,081 

 

$

19,011,040 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costs and operating expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petroleum product cost of goods sold

 

 

14,074,579 

 

 

15,009,955 

 

 

16,298,316 

Merchandise cost of goods sold

 

 

1,859,732 

 

 

1,877,630 

 

 

1,855,641 

Station and other operating expenses

 

 

486,761 

 

 

460,475 

 

 

447,102 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

74,906 

 

 

71,253 

 

 

66,913 

Selling, general and administrative

 

 

119,266 

 

 

129,600 

 

 

109,532 

Accretion of asset retirement obligations

 

 

1,200 

 

 

1,096 

 

 

980 

Total costs and operating expenses

 

$

16,616,444 

 

$

17,550,009 

 

$

18,778,484 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income from operations

 

 

369,459 

 

 

264,072 

 

 

232,556 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other income (expense)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gain (loss) on sale of assets

 

 

194 

 

 

5,995 

 

 

(1,005)

Other nonoperating income

 

 

438 

 

 

169 

 

 

91 

Total other income (expense)

 

$

632 

 

$

6,164 

 

$

(914)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income from continuing operations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

before income taxes

 

 

370,091 

 

 

270,236 

 

 

231,642 

Income tax expense

 

 

127,657 

 

 

106,223 

 

 

92,059 

Income from continuing operations

 

$

242,434 

 

$

164,013 

 

$

139,583 

38


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

Gallons sold per store month

 

 

270,416 

 

 

268,458 

 

 

277,001 

Fuel margin (cpg)

 

 

15.8 

 

 

13.0 

 

 

12.9 

Fuel margin $ per store month

 

$

42,821 

 

$

34,998 

 

$

35,815 

Total tobacco sales revenue per store month

 

$

114,727 

 

$

122,094 

 

$

127,785 

Total non-tobacco sales revenue per store month

 

$

32,096 

 

$

30,455 

 

$

28,644 

Total merchandise sales revenue per store month

 

$

146,823 

 

$

152,549 

 

$

156,429 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merchandise margin $ per store month

 

$

20,491 

 

$

19,909 

 

$

21,061 

Merchandise margin as a percentage of merchandise sales

 

 

14.0% 

 

 

13.1% 

 

 

13.5% 

Store count at end of period

 

 

1,263 

 

 

1,203 

 

 

1,165 

Average retail sites open during the period (store months)

 

 

1,227 

 

 

1,180 

 

 

1,142 

 

2014 versus 2013

Total fuel volumes for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013 were 3.98 billion gallons and 3.80 billion gallons, respectively.  Retail fuel volumes in 2014 on an APSM basis were higher by 0.7% compared to 2013. The improvement in retail volumes on an APSM was due to decreasing retail prices in the last six months of 2014 combined with an increase of a partial month in the duration of the Walmart discount program year over year.

The Marketing segment had total revenues of $17.0 billion in 2014 compared to approximately $17.8 billion in 2013, a decrease of $0.8 billion. Revenue amounts included excise taxes collected and remitted to government authorities of $1.9 billion in 2014 and 2013. Total fuel sales volumes per station averaged 270,416 gallons per month in 2014,  up 0.7% from 268,458 gallons per month in the prior year. Fuel margin increased in 2014 to 15.8 cpg, compared to 13.0 cpg in the prior year. The higher fuel margins in the period were attributed to decreasing wholesale prices in the latter half of 2014, which caused margins to expand from prior year levels. Total product supply and wholesale margin dollars excluding RINs were $13.5 million in the year ended December 31, 2014 period compared to $54.2 million in 2013.  These product supply and wholesale margin dollars do not include $19.1 million and $20.0 million of combined operating expense and SG&A costs for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively. Also impacting operating income positively in the year ended December 31, 2014 was sale of RINs of $92.9 million compared to $91.4 million in the prior year.  During 2014, 195 million RINs were sold at an average selling price of $0.48 per RIN.

Merchandise sales were essentially flat in 2014 at $2.2 billion, up $1.9 million from 2013 levels. Merchandise margins increased 0.9%, from 13.1% in the 2013 period to 14.0% in 2014. This improvement in margin was caused by increased sales of higher margin non-tobacco items that combined with higher margins on tobacco items other than cigarettes.  Total non-tobacco sales revenues increased 9.6% and related margin dollars increased 11.1% year over year.  Categories showing the most improvement in 2014 include dispensed beverages, beer, wine and liquor, and general merchandise.  On an APSM basis, total merchandise sales were down 3.8% with tobacco products down 6.0%, partially offset by a 5.4% increase in non-tobacco sales.  Total margins on an APSM basis for 2014 were up 2.9% with tobacco margins up 0.5%, combined with a 6.9% increase in non-tobacco margins.

39


 

Station and other operating expenses increased $26.3 million in 2014 compared to 2013 levels, an increase of 5.7%. This increase was due mainly to higher store counts in the 2014 period. The largest area of increase within station and other operating expenses was related to maintenance expense in the 2014 period compared to the prior year.  The 2014 contained higher charges for maintenance related to site upgrades and repairs to reinvest in our brand image.  Excluding credit card fees on an APSM basis, station and other operating expenses at the retail level only increased 0.9% over 2013 levels. 

Depreciation and amortization increased $3.7 million in 2014, an increase of 5.1%. This increase was caused by more stores operating in the 2014 period compared to the prior year.

Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased $10.3 million in 2014 compared to 2013.  The 2013 period contained $15.4 million of spin-related and other one-time, non-recurring costs.  After considering the $15.4 million of costs in the prior year, the 2014 period had higher costs of $5.1 million which was primarily caused by higher employee benefit costs in 2014

 

2013 versus 2012

 

Total fuel volumes for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 were 3.80 billion gallons attributable primarily to an increased store count in 2013.  However, retail fuel volumes in 2013 on an average per store month (APSM) basis were lower by 3.1% compared to 2012.  The decline in retail volumes on an APSM was due to significantly less price volatility year over year, a decrease in the duration of the Walmart discount program year over year, and overall weaker consumer demand.

Total period revenues for the Marketing segment were approximately $17.8 billion in 2013 compared to approximately $19.0 billion in 2012, a decrease of $1.2 billion. Revenue amounts included excise taxes collected and remitted to government authorities of $1.9 billion in 2013 and $2.0 billion in 2012. Total fuel sales volumes per station averaged 268,458 gallons per month in 2013, down 3.1% from 277,001 gallons per month in the prior year. Fuel margin increased slightly in 2013 to 13.0 cpg, compared to 12.9 cpg in the prior year. The slightly higher fuel margins in the period were attributed to periods of decreasing wholesale prices, which caused margins to expand slightly from prior year levels. Total product supply and wholesale margin dollars excluding RINs were $54.2 million in the year ended December 31, 2013 period compared to $65.1 million in 2012.  These product supply and wholesale margin dollars do not include $20.0 million and $18.5 million of combined operating expense and SG&A costs for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively. Also impacting operating income positively in the year ended December 31, 2013 was sale of RINs of $91.4 million compared to $8.9 million in the prior year.  During 2013, 171 million RINs were sold at an average selling price of $0.53 per RIN.

Merchandise sales increased slightly to $2.2 billion in 2013, up $15.1 million from 2012 levels. Merchandise margins decreased 0.4%, from 13.5% in the 2012 period to 13.1% in 2013. This decline in margin was caused by pressure on certain tobacco related product margins, which was partially offset by increased sales of higher margin non-tobacco items sold in our stores. Total non-tobacco sales revenues increased 9.8% and related margin dollars increased 7.0% year over year.  Categories showing the most improvement in 2013 include beverages, candy, salty snacks, and lottery/lotto.  On an APSM basis, total merchandise sales were down 2.5% with tobacco products down 4.5%, partially offset by a 6.3% increase in non-tobacco sales.  Total margins on an APSM basis for the year were down 5.5% with tobacco margins down 10.3%, partially offset by a 3.6% increase in non-tobacco margins.  Merchandise margins on an APSM basis in 2013 were slightly lower than in 2012 with a decrease in merchandise sales revenue per store month of 2.5%, which was more than offset by an increased number of stores operating in 2013.    

Station and other operating expenses increased $13.4 million in 2013 compared to 2012 levels, an increase of 3.0%. This increase was due to higher store counts in the 2013 period. The largest line item increases within station and other operating expenses were salaries, benefits and taxes, maintenance, and environmental charges in the 2013 period compared to the prior year, partially offset

40


 

by lower credit card fees due to lower sales prices.  Excluding credit card fees on an APSM basis, station and other operating expenses at the retail level only increased 1.9% over 2012 levels. 

Depreciation and amortization increased $4.3 million in 2013, an increase of 6.5%. This increase was caused by more stores operating in the 2013 period compared to the prior year.

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased $20.1 million in 2013 compared to 2012. This increase was primarily due to higher corporate overhead costs charged to Murphy USA by Murphy Oil for shared services during the period prior to the spin-off along with higher spin-related and other one-time, non-recurring costs of $15.4 million.

Corporate and other assets

 

2014 versus 2013

After-tax net income for Corporate and other assets improved in 2014 to income of $0.6 million compared to a loss of $7.7 million in 2013. The 2014 year included income from the Hereford plant of $20.1 million and income from settlement of a legal case which was nearly offset by the increased interest expense in the Corporate and other assets area due to a full year of outstanding debt.  Hereford improved its contribution by $17.2 million in 2014 due to improved operations with 3% higher yields for the year and higher crush spreads.  Also included in 2014 was a charge of $1.9 million related to write-off of deferred debt costs for the term loan that was repaid in 2014.  Interest expense in 2014 was $36.6 million, an increase of $22.1 million due to a full year of debt outstanding in the current year. 

Discontinued operations in 2014 related to the final adjustments to working capital from the sale of the Hankinson plant, resulting in a gain of $0.8 million, net of tax, for 2014See Note 4 “Discontinued Operations” in the accompanying audited consolidated and combined financial statements for more information on the disposed assets.

 

2013 versus 2012

After-tax net income for Corporate and other assets improved in 2013 to a loss of $7.7 million compared to a loss of $53.2 million in 2012.  The 2013 year included income from the Hereford plant and was more than offset by the increased interest expense in the Corporate and other assets area due to the debt taken out to pay a cash dividend to Murphy Oil concurrent with the Separation.  This increase in interest expense was due to amounts drawn down since the August 2013 issuance of $500 million in Senior Notes and the drawdown of $150 million in term loan under our credit facilities.  2012 also contained the impairment charge taken on the Hereford plant of $39.6 million, net of tax. 

Discontinued operations in 2012 contained the operations of Hankinson. See Note 4 “Discontinued Operations” in the accompanying audited consolidated and combined financial statements for more information on the disposed assets.

Balance Sheet Information

As of December 31, 2014, the Hereford ethanol subsidiary had total assets of $37.1 million, or 1.9% of our total assets, which was comprised primarily of property, plant and equipment and related inventories to operate the facility.  Also at December 31, 2014, the ethanol subsidiary had total liabilities of $5.7 million, or 0.5% of our total liabilities. 

 

Non-GAAP Measures

 

The following table sets forth the Company’s Adjusted EBITDA for the three years ended December 31, 2014.  EBITDA means net income (loss) plus net interest expense, income tax expense, and depreciation and amortization, and Adjusted EBITDA adds back (i) other non-cash items (e.g., impairment of properties and accretion of asset retirement obligations) and (ii) other items that management does not consider to be meaningful in assessing our operating performance (e.g., (income) from discontinued operations, gain (loss) on sale of assets and other non-operating expense (income)).  EBITDA and

41


 

Adjusted EBITDA are not measures that are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

 

We use EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA in our operational and financial decision-making, believing that such measures are useful to eliminate certain items in order to focus on what we deem to be a more reliable indicator of ongoing operating performance and our ability to generate cash flow from operations.  Adjusted EBITDA is also used by many of our investors, research analysts, investment bankers, and lenders to assess our operating performance.  However, non-GAAP financial measures are not a substitute for GAAP disclosures, and Adjusted EBITDA may be prepared differently by us than by other companies using similarly titled non-GAAP measures.

 

The reconciliation of net income to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

(Thousands of dollars)

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

243,863 

 

$

235,033 

 

$

83,568 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income taxes

 

 

126,341 

 

 

101,351 

 

 

63,705 

Interest expense, net of interest income

 

 

36,402 

 

 

13,410 

 

 

212 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

79,234 

 

 

74,130 

 

 

71,740 

EBITDA

 

 

485,840 

 

 

423,924 

 

 

219,225 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Income) loss from discontinued operations, net of taxes

 

 

(781)

 

 

(78,707)

 

 

2,846 

Impairment of properties

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

60,988 

Accretion of asset retirement obligations

 

 

1,200 

 

 

1,096 

 

 

980 

(Gain) loss on sale of assets

 

 

(194)

 

 

(5,995)

 

 

1,005 

Other nonoperating income (loss)

 

 

(11,160)

 

 

(169)

 

 

(91)

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

474,905 

 

$

340,149 

 

$

284,953 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Company also considers Free Cash Flow in the operation of its business.  Free cash flow is defined as net cash provided by operating activities in a period minus payments for property and equipment made in that period.  Free cash flow is also considered a non-GAAP financial measure.  Management believes, however, that free cash flow, which measures our ability to generate additional cash from our business operations, is an important financial measure for us in evaluating the Company’s performance.  Free cash flow should be considered in addition to, rather than as a substitute for consolidated net income as a measure of our performance and net cash provided by operating activities as a measure of our liquidity. 

 

Numerous methods may exist to calculate a company’s free cash flow.  As a result, the method used by our management to calculate our free cash flow may differ from the methods other companies use to calculate their free cash flow.  The following table provides a reconciliation of free cash flow, a non-GAAP financial measure, to net cash provided by operating activities, which we believe to be the GAAP financial measure most directly comparable to free cash flow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

(Thousands of dollars)

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

$

305,582 

 

$

356,698 

 

$

237,427 

Payments for property and equipment

 

 

(138,888)

 

 

(164,536)

 

 

(104,496)

Free cash flow

 

$

166,694 

 

$

192,162 

 

$

132,931 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42


 

 

 

Capital Resources and Liquidity

 

Significant sources of capital

 

 

As of December 31, 2014, we had $328.1 million of cash and cash equivalents.  Our cash management policy provides that cash balances in excess of a certain threshold are reinvested in certain types of low-risk investments. 

We obtained borrowing capacity under a committed $450 million asset based loan facility (the “ABL facility”) (subject to the borrowing base) and a $150 million term facility, as well as a $200 million incremental uncommitted facility.    As described below, concurrent with the Separation, we borrowed $150 million under the term facility, the proceeds of which were used, together with the net proceeds of the issuance of senior unsecured notes, to finance a $650 million cash dividend to Murphy OilThe $150 million term facility has been fully repaid as of May 2014.  At December 31, 2014 we had $450 million of borrowing capacity that we could utilize for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including to the support of our operating model as described herein. Our borrowing base is approximately $174 million based on December 31, 2014 balance sheet information.  See “Debt – Credit Facilities” for the calculation of our borrowing base. 

We believe our short-term and long-term liquidity is adequate to fund not only our operations, but also our anticipated near-term and long-term funding requirements, including capital spending programs, execution of announced share repurchase programs, potential dividend payments, repayment of debt maturities and other amounts that may ultimately be paid in connection with contingencies.

Cash presented on our combined balance sheets prior to the Separation represented cash on hand at our retail locations, cash that had not yet been transferred to Murphy Oil and cash held by us at our ethanol manufacturing operations at that time.  We reflected transfers of cash to and from Murphy Oil’s cash management system as a component of net parent investment on our combined balance sheets, and these net transfers of cash were reflected as a financing activity in our combined statements of cash flows.

 

Operating Activities

 

Net cash provided by operating activities was $305.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2014 and $356.7 million for the comparable period in 2013, a decrease of 14.3%, primarily because of improved operating performance and decrease of accounts payable in 2014 and timing of month end compared to our receivables positions.  Net income improved $8.8 million in 2014 compared to 2013 and the amount of cash generated from drawdown of working capital in the 2014 period declined by  $107.3 million.    Net cash provided by operating activities was $237.4 million in 2012. The primary reason for changes in the amounts between 2013 and 2012 related to a higher use of cash to build working capital compared to the prior year, which was the main driver in the increase of $119.3 million on total operating cash flows.    Included in net cash provided by operating activities were cash flows provided by discontinued operations of $0.1 million in 2014, $49.7 million in 2013, and $1.1 million in 2012. These cash flows provided by discontinued operations were generated from the recently disposed Hankinson ethanol operations in each year.  

 

Investing Activities

 

For the year ended December 31, 2014, cash required by investing activities was $149.4 million compared to cash provided by investing activities of $12.9 million in 2013. The investing cash decrease of $162.3 million in 2014 was primarily due to the proceeds from the sale of Hankinson that resulted in investing cash flows from discontinued operations that did not recur.  Capital expenditures in 2014 required cash of $138.9 million compared to $164.5 million in 2013.  The primary reason for the decrease in capital expenditures in 2014 relates to the land purchase required under the December 2012

43


 

agreement with Walmart that was paid in January 2013 partially offset by an increase in station construction cost over the prior year.

In 2013, cash provided by investing activities was $12.9 million while 2012 required cash from investing activities of $112.1 million due primarily to the sale of the Hankinson ethanol plant in 2013. For 2012, virtually all of the cash used for investing activities related to capital expenditures to build 37 retail marketing locations and ethanol plant improvements.

 

Financing activities

 

Financing activities in the year ended December 31, 2014 used cash of $122.8 million compared to use of $132.2 million in the year ended December 31, 2013. This decreased use of cash was due to no repeat of cash used to pay distributions to the former parent partially offset by lower debt repayment.  2014 did include $51.3 million for purchase of treasury stock.  Net cash required by financing activities in 2012 was $104.9 million. In 2012, virtually all of the change was due to movements in accounts related to the net parent investment between Murphy USA and Murphy Oil.

 Debt

In connection with the Separation, we incurred an aggregate of $650 million in long-term debt, the proceeds of which we used to finance a cash dividend to Murphy Oil that was paid on the separation date.  Our long-term debt at December 31, 2014 and 2013 was as set forth below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31,

(Thousands of dollars)

 

2014

 

2013

6% senior notes due 2023 (net of unamortized discount of $7,557 at 2014 and $8,422 at 2013)

 

$

492,443 

 

$

491,578 

Term loan due 2016 (effective rate of 3.71% at December 31, 2013)

 

 

 —

 

 

70,000 

Less current maturities

 

 

 —

 

 

(14,000)

Total long-term debt

 

$

492,443 

 

$

547,578 

 

Senior Notes

On August 14, 2013, Murphy Oil USA, Inc., our primary operating subsidiary, issued 6.00% Senior Notes due 2023 (the “Senior Notes”) in an aggregate principal amount of $500 million. The Senior Notes are fully and unconditionally guaranteed by Murphy USA, and are guaranteed by certain 100% owned subsidiaries that guarantee our credit facilities. The indenture governing the Senior Notes contains restrictive covenants that limit, among other things, the ability of Murphy USA, Murphy Oil USA, Inc. and the restricted subsidiaries to incur additional indebtedness or liens, dispose of assets, make certain restricted payments or investments, enter into transactions with affiliates or merge with or into other entities.

The Senior Notes and the guarantees rank equally with all of our and the guarantors’ existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness and effectively junior to our and the guarantors’ existing and future secured indebtedness (including indebtedness with respect to the credit facilities) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness.  The Senior Notes are structurally subordinated to all of the existing and future third-party liabilities, including trade payables, of our existing and future subsidiaries that do not guarantee the notes.

We used the net proceeds of the Senior Notes, together with borrowings under the credit facilities, to finance a cash dividend of $650 million from Murphy Oil USA, Inc. to Murphy Oil paid in connection with the Separation.

On June 17, 2014, we closed an exchange offer for our Senior Notes to make them eligible for public resale, as required by a registration rights agreement entered into in connection with the issuance of the Senior Notes.  All of the Senior Notes were tendered for exchange.

 

 

 

44


 

Credit Facilities

On August 30, 2013, we entered into a credit agreement, which provides for a committed $450 million asset-based loan (ABL) facility (with availability subject to the borrowing base described below) and a $150 million term facility. It also provides for a $200 million uncommitted incremental facility.  On August 30, 2013, Murphy Oil USA, Inc. borrowed $150 million under the term facility, the proceeds of which were used, together with the net proceeds of the offering of the Senior Notes, to finance the $650 million cash dividend to Murphy Oil.  The term facility was repaid in full in May 2014.  On September 2, 2014, we amended the credit agreement to extend the maturity date to September 2, 2019 and amend the terms of the various covenants.   

 

The borrowing base is expected, at any time of determination, to be an amount (net of reserves) equal to the sum of:

 

•      100% of eligible cash at such time, plus

•      90% of eligible credit card receivables at such time, plus

•      90% of eligible investment grade accounts, plus

•      85% of eligible other accounts, plus

•      80% of eligible product supply/wholesale refined products inventory at such time, plus

•      75% of eligible retail refined products inventory at such time, plus

 

the lesser of (i) 70% of the average cost of eligible retail merchandise inventory at such time and (ii) 85% of the net orderly liquidation value of eligible retail merchandise inventory at such time.

 

The ABL facility includes a $75 million sublimit on swingline loans and a $200 million sublimit for the issuance of letters of credit. Swingline loans and letters of credit issued under the ABL facility reduce availability under the ABL facility.

 

Interest payable on the credit facilities is based on either:

 

the London interbank offered rate, adjusted for statutory reserve requirements (the “Adjusted LIBO Rate”); or

the Alternate Base Rate, which is defined as the highest of (a) the prime rate, (b) the federal funds effective rate from time to time plus 0.50% per annum and (c) the one-month Adjusted LIBO Rate plus 1.00% per annum,

 

plus, (A) in the case Adjusted LIBO Rate borrowings, (i) with respect to the ABL facility, spreads ranging from 1.50% to 2.00% per annum depending on the average availability under the ABL facility or (ii) with respect to the term facility, spreads ranging from 2.75% to 3.00% per annum depending on a secured debt to EBITDA ratio and (B) in the case of Alternate Base Rate borrowings, (i) with respect to the ABL facility, spreads ranging from 0.50% to 1.00% per annum depending on the average availability under the ABL facility or (ii) with respect to the term facility, spreads ranging from 1.75% to 2.00% per annum depending on a secured debt to EBITDA ratio.

 

The interest rate period with respect to the Adjusted LIBO Rate interest rate option can be set at one-, two-, three-, or six-months as selected by us in accordance with the terms of the credit agreement.

 

We were obligated to make quarterly principal payments on the outstanding principal amount of the term facility beginning on the first anniversary of the effective date of the credit agreement in amounts equal to 10% of the term loans made on such effective date, with the remaining balance payable on the scheduled maturity date of the term facility. Borrowings under the credit facilities are prepayable at our option without premium or penalty. We were also required to pre