Total Q3 Results Beat Street
Cost cuts ahead of schedule; rival Eni reports net loss.
France's Total battled lower refining margins to beat third-quarter profit expectations on Friday helped by cost cuts, output from new projects and a strong contribution from its renewable energy ventures.
Total reported a 25 percent fall in third-quarter adjusted net income to $2.1 billion, beating the $1.9 billion expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Revenue fell 8 percent to $37.4 billion.
"Total's Q3 results look resilient. Total continues to post solid earnings and there's a lot to like about the direction of travel," analysts at Jefferies who maintain a 'hold' rating on the stock said in a note.
The energy company said the sale of a solar farm by U.S. subsidiary SunPower had provided a significant boost to its results, and New Energies businesses added $100 million in the quarter's $545 million adjusted net operating income.
Italian peer Eni reported a worse-than-expected adjusted net loss for the quarter hurt by a shutdown at a key Italian field.
Total said increased oil and gas production and an aggressive saving drive put it on track to organically cover spending and dividends in a low oil environment of $55 a barrel next year.
Total's oil production in the quarter was up 4.3 percent thanks to five new fields. That, and a ramp-up at nine fields which started last year drove output growth and bolstered cash flow in the upstream segment.
The group increased cash flow by 13 percent compared to the second quarter. It said average cash flow per barrel in the new fields was higher than in existing fields.
It said production from projects started since 2015 are expected to deliver around $3 billion in cash flow with Brent at $60 per barrel in 2017 and around $7 billion in 2020.
Total said costs were falling faster than expected and that it would aim to deliver $4 billion in savings by 2018. It said savings would top $2.7 billion in 2016, 10 percent more than foreseen at the start of the year.
In the upstream segment where it is finding most of its savings, Total said its operating cost per barrel had fallen by about 40 percent since 2014 to below $6 per barrel.
The company maintained its dividend at 0.61 euro per share, payable in April with a scrip dividend programme, However, the discounted scrip programme will end in 2017 if Brent is at $60 per barrel, it said.
Total's shares were down 1.04 percent by 1144 GMT to lag the broader CAC 40 index which was up 0.37 percent but in line a European oil and gas index down 1.07 percent.
By Bate Felix