Total rebrands in pivot away from oil after better quarter

By Benjamin Mallet and Sarah White PARIS (Reuters) - France's Total posted better than expected earnings in the fourth quarter as oil prices stabilised, and said it would change its name as part of a push to diversify and grow renewable power and electricity production.

Reuters February 10, 2021 00:06:49 IST
Total rebrands in pivot away from oil after better quarter

Total rebrands in pivot away from oil after better quarter

By Benjamin Mallet and Sarah White

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Total posted better than expected earnings in the fourth quarter as oil prices stabilised, and said it would change its name as part of a push to diversify and grow renewable power and electricity production.

The French oil and gas major, which like rivals suffered in 2020 as fuel consumption tumbled during the pandemic, said it would rebrand as TotalEnergies as it tries over the next decade to reduce oil products to a third of its sales from over half now.

The company plunged to a $7.2 billion net loss for 2020 as a whole, hit by around $10 billion of impairments as oil prices collapsed. But it had already recorded most of the charges, including some linked to write downs on its Canadian oil sands assets, in the first half of last year and on an adjusted basis, net income came in at $4.06 billion for the year.

Earnings fell less sharply in the fourth quarter than in the previous three months. Adjusted net income, which strips out some one off items, was down 59% from the year earlier period to $1.3 billion, beating analysts' expectations, and in contrast with some peers including Shell.

"Overall a rock steady performance in a tough quarter and year," analysts at Bernstein said in a note, adding that cash flow levels were strong.

Total shares were up 1.2% by 1055 GMT.

Chairman and Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said the company's rebranding reflected a bid to move as fast as possible as it tries to improve on its environmental goals.

"By proposing this name change to shareholders, we're also fundamentally asking them to approve this change in strategy," Pouyanne told reporters.

The group said it has already spent more than $2 billion on acquisitions in the renewables sector this year, and planned to spend 20% of its investment budget for 2021 on this drive, up from around 15% in 2020.

Total will have some $5 billion of investments to finance overall in the renewables segment this year, with a mixture of debt and capital, Pouyanne said, and some $60 billion by 2030.

Total said the oil market outlook remained uncertain, and it would target another $500 million in cost cuts in 2021, after saving $1.1 billion last year.

It is targeting $12 billion in net investments overall this year, down from $13 billion last year.

Total forecast a 10% improvement in sales of liquefied natural gas this year, in part thanks to a ramp up of operations at the Cameron LNG export plant in the United States.

It also on Tuesday signed a fiscal stability agreement with Papua New Guinea which could pave the way for work to begin on a long-stalled LNG project in the country.

Total said it would propose a dividend payout of 0.66 euros per share for the October to December period, in line with previous quarters in 2020.

(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Sarah White; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

Robinhood now a go-to for young investors and short sellers
Business

Robinhood now a go-to for young investors and short sellers

By John McCrank NEW YORK (Reuters) - Robinhood, the online brokerage used by many retail traders to pile in to heavily shorted stocks like GameStop Corp, has made an ambitious push into loaning out its clients' shares to short sellers as it expands its business. The broker had $1.9 billion in shares loaned out as of Dec. 31, nearly three times the $674 million a year earlier, and it was permitted to lend out $4.6 billion worth of securities under margin agreements, around five times bigger than the prior year, according to an annual regulatory filing late on Monday

Wall Street mixed as Apple and Tesla retreat
Business

Wall Street mixed as Apple and Tesla retreat

By Noel Randewich (Reuters) - Wall Street was mixed on Tuesday, with Apple and Tesla losing ground, while materials and energy companies climbed as investors looked toward the U.S. Congress approving another stimulus package.

Biden's SEC nominee vows review of GameStop trading issues, climate disclosures
Business

Biden's SEC nominee vows review of GameStop trading issues, climate disclosures

By Pete Schroeder and Chris Prentice WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's pick to head a key market regulator promised on Tuesday a thorough review of issues raised by the GameStop Corp stock frenzy and suggested companies may have to disclose their potential risks from climate change