HOUSTON (AP) ¿ Petroleum-pipeline system operator Buckeye Partners LP on Monday said its third-quarter profit rose 24 percent and beat Wall Street expectations, as gains from trimmed operational expenses outweighed a decline in sales.

"Although difficult economic conditions reduced our product volumes, we achieved significant growth in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, our primary measure of success," said Forrest Wylie, CEO of Buckeye's general partner.

"We generated an increase of 13.7 percent in adjusted EBITDA over the third quarter of 2008, when demand was stronger."

Quarterly earnings climbed to $57.9 million, or 89 cents per partnership unit, compared with $46.6 million, or 75 cents per partnership unit, during the same period last year.

Excluding special restructuring charges, adjusted earnings amounted to 90 cents per partnership unit.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated a profit of 79 cents per partnership unit, on average. Analysts typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue declined 15 percent to $423.4 million from $496.2 million in the prior-year period. Analysts' average forecast for revenue was $427 million.

Meanwhile, the company's board of directors raised its quarterly partnership cash distribution by 1.25 cents to 92.5 cents per partnership unit.

Shares of Buckeye fell 5 cents to $49.67 in afternoon trading.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.