Total profit down, sales up

31 October 2012, Sweetcrude, LONDON – DESPITE strong upstream performance and improved refinery margins, net profit dropped at French oil giant Total in the third quarter of this year.

Total said on Wednesday that its revenue grew 8 percent within the period the, but profits slipped 7 percent, in part due to one-off charges and the falling price of oil.

France’s largest company by market value pulled in 49.9 billion Euro ($64.7 billion) in revenue in the July-to-September period. High refining margins and a budding economic recovery helped drive that growth.

But special items, including a one-off tax on crude and refined product inventories and an impairment in the value of some US assets, shaved 800 million Euro ($1 billion) off profits.

The price of Brent crude has also fallen 3 percent over the same period last year, and production of oil and gas was down slightly, in part due to gas leaks in the North Sea and Nigeria.

Net income for the quarter was down to 3.1 billion Euro, just off the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet of 3.2 billion Euro.

The company said its adjusted net income – which excludes the special items and the profits or losses on the value of held assets – rose 20 percent compared to the same period last year.

Much of that growth is due to a near tripling of the company’s profit margin for refining. Total said the increase was a result of several European refineries being out of commission for maintenance and an increase in demand from the US, as the economy picks up there.

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  • Total is one of the best run oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world. Businesses the size of Total are always engaged in investments of one sort or the other.