(Reuters) - U.S. oil refiner Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) posted a first-quarter loss as discounts on the crude it processes shrank and it took charges for shutting down its Aruba plant.
Net loss for the quarter was $432 million, or 78 cents per share, versus a profit of $104 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned 31 cents per share, 2 cents above analysts' average forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
San Antonio, Texas-based Valero said it continued to benefit from strong exports, even as weak U.S. demand cut its income per barrel processed by more than half compared with a year earlier, to $2.11.
"These export volumes have helped to offset weak domestic demand and contributed to higher operating rates at our refineries," Chief Executive Bill Klesse said in a statement.
Refining volumes in the quarter climbed 449,000 barrels per day to 2.56 million barrels per day due to the acquisitions of the Pembroke and Meraux refineries, the company said.
Valero said it undertook major refinery work during the first quarter, including shutdowns at its Wilmington and St. Charles refineries.
Shares of Valero were unchanged in premarket trading at $24.70.
Reporting By Matt Daily; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace