France's Total reports strong profits
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PARIS, Feb 13 AFP
February 14 2013, 02:12AM
French oil giant Total has reported an 8.0 per cent rise in net profit to 12.4 billion euros ($A16.30 billion) in 2012, excluding the change in value of oil in stock.
This is the measure, known as the current-cost accounting basis, which is most closely watched in the oil sector.
Net profit on an overall basis, the historic-cost method, fell by 13.0 per cent to 10.7 billion euros.
The statement said that a fall in production had been counter-balanced by high oil prices and a temporary rally of margins for refiners in Europe.
The results were in line with forecasts by analysts who had expected a net profit on a current-cost accounting basis of 12.4 billion euros.
Oil prices were high last year owing largely to tension over supplies from Iran which is the target of economic sanctions against its nuclear program.
These high prices offset a drop in Total's overall hydrocarbon output which fell 2.0 per cent in 2012 to 2.3 million barrels per day in oil equivalent.
The company said it was targeting a two to three per cent boost in output for 2013, which chief executive Christophe de Margerie said would require a special effort.
The group said it was well advanced in an asset divestment program set to unload between $US15 billion ($A14.63 billion) and $US20 billion by 2014.
Total expects to shed assets worth $9.0 billion in 2013, after ceding about $6.0 billion in 2012.
Total is Western Europe's third biggest oil producer, behind Shell and BP, and France's biggest company by market capitalisation, just ahead of former subsidiary Sanofi, the drugmaker.
Total's shares were up by 0.20 per cent in afternoon trading on Wednesday, slightly lower than a Paris market rising by 0.36 per cent.