EL PASO, Texas, May 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Western Refining, Inc. (NYSE:WNR) today reported first quarter 2013 net income, excluding special items, of $98.8 million, or $0.94 per diluted share. This compares to first quarter 2012 net income, excluding special items, of $85.1 million, or $0.81 per diluted share. Including special items, the Company recorded first quarter 2013 net income of $83.7 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, as compared to a net loss of $53.5 million, or $0.60 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2012. Special items in the first quarter of 2013 were $23.8 million which primarily consisted of $22.0 million in charges associated with the extinguishment of debt. A reconciliation of reported earnings and description of special items can be found in the accompanying financial tables. Adjusted EBITDA was $242.7 million, a first quarter record, which compares to an Adjusted EBITDA of $183.0 million for the first quarter of 2012. The quarter-on-quarter improvement in both net income and Adjusted EBITDA was due in large part to higher refining margins resulting from cost-advantaged crude oils and strong product values in the Southwest U.S. During the quarter, Western issued $350 million of 6.25% senior unsecured notes and used the proceeds to pay off existing 11.25% senior secured notes. The Company returned approximately $83 million in cash to shareholders through a first quarter dividend and by share repurchases. Also in the quarter, the Board of Directors authorized and directed Western management to explore the formation of a traditional master limited partnership. In March, Western completed a major turnaround of the north side of the El Paso refinery. Jeff Stevens, Western's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Western delivered another strong quarter as we continued to build on the momentum of our outstanding 2012 financial performance. During the first quarter, we took a number of steps that we believe will have a long-term positive impact for the Company. Our ability to refinance our long-term debt, on an unsecured basis and at a 6.25% rate, is a clear reflection of our balance sheet improvements and the positive outlook the market has for Western. The refinancing will result in approximately $15 million in annual interest expense savings and will give us even more financial flexibility."