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Core-Mark 4Q profit jumps on acquisitions

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Core-Mark Holding Company Inc., a wholesale consumer products distributor, reported Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income jumped more than 86 percent with help from recent acquisitions.

The San Francisco company distributes merchandise to convenience stores, grocers and other retailers across North America. It bought North Carolina wholesaler J.T. Davenport & Sons Inc. at the end of last year for $38 million to expand its reach in the Southeast. It also acquired Forrest City Grocery Co. in the spring of 2011.

Core-Mark reported that it earned $9.7 million, or 83 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That compares with $5.2 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier. Its revenue increased nearly 3 percent to $2.19 billion from $2.13 billion.

Despite the gains for the period, the results fell just short of market expectations for Core-Mark. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting the company to earn 82 cents per share on revenue of $2.24 billion.

Core-Mark CEO and President Thomas Perkins said the company ended the year on a high note with the Davenport acquisition and that the company's core strategies are intact and will fuel growth in the coming year.

The company said it expects to earn between $3.10 and $3.25 per share for the year, including an accounting expense that dragged its earnings down by 19 cents per share. It forecast revenue between $9.8 billion and $10 billion for 2013.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting the company to earn $3.89 per share on revenue of $9.81 billion.

Perkins said the company does not expect robust sales growth in its first quarter because higher payroll taxes and fuel costs are cutting into consumer's willingness to make other purchases. But the company expects purchasing patterns to return to normal as summer approaches.

Shares slipped 1 cent to $48.45 by midmorning in low volume trading. Its stock remains in the middle of its 52-week trading range of $34.78 to $51.85.