Sales up for oil giant Total but profit down

AP News
Posted: Oct 31, 2012 4:01 AM
Sales up for oil giant Total but profit down

PARIS (AP) — Total saw its revenue grow 8 percent in the third quarter, the French oil giant said Wednesday, 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 ($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 U.S. assets, shaved €800 million ($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, just off the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet of €3.2 billion.

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.

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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 U.S., as the economy picks up there.