Profits at petrol and oil supplier Texaco grew by two-thirds to €25.3 million last year, according to the latest figures.
Accounts lodged by Valero Energy (Ireland), the local subsidiary of the US giant behind Texaco, show that its sales fell 20 per cent to €1.25 billion last year from €1.55 billion in 2014.
Operating profits grew almost 50 per cent to €24.3 million from €16.6 million, aided by a fall in costs and foreign exchange losses, which tumbled to €164,000 from €4 million.
A €1.85 million gain from the sale of some assets boosted Valero’s bottom line, leaving it with a pre-tax profit of €25.3 million for 2015, almost 65 per cent more than the €15.4 million it earned the previous year.
Valero sells motor fuel and other products through its chain of service stations around the Republic.
It also sells home heating oil, and owns a 50 per cent stake in a fuel terminal at Dublin port that supplies the wholesale market. The Irish company is reported to be interested in buying the remaining 50 per cent stake, which now belongs to Topaz, which it acquired when it bought Esso Ireland for €75 million last year.
Canadian group Alimentation Couche-Tard subsequently bought the enlarged group from its owner, Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, for €450 million.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) ordered the sale of Esso’s share in the terminal as a condition of allowing Topaz to buy the business.
Valero is likely to face a competing bid from Applegreen, the Dublin-quoted service station chain, which is also known to want to buy Esso's share in the terminal business.
The CCPC will have to approve any buyer. Neither Applegreen nor Valero have commented.
Valero’s balance sheet shows that it had net assets of €198 million on December 31st, 13 per cent more than 12 months earlier, when it was €175 million. It did not pay any dividend to its parent.
Motorists should have benefitted over the last two years from a collapse in oil prices from over $100 a barrel to below $40 at one point. However, figures released recently by AA Ireland show that a 36 per cent rise in insurance costs over the same period wiped out any gains that drivers made from cheaper petrol.