Home Estate Planning French oil giant Total looks to keep shareholder promises but warns on 2024

French oil giant Total looks to keep shareholder promises but warns on 2024

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French oil and gas supermajor Totalenergies has upped its dividend but warned that fossil fuel prices and weak refining margins could slow down its 2024 progress.

The French group’s net adjusted income dropped to $5.2bn (£4.1bn) from $7.6bn (£6bn) in the same quarter a year earlier, compared with analysts’ average forecast of $5.4bn (£4.2bn), according to LSEG data.

For the full year 2023, the firm, reported net income of $23.2bn (£18.2bn) in 2023, a 36 per cent drop on 2022.

Despite the near miss for Q4, the firm reported strong liquefied natural gas (LNG) production growth for the period of seven per cent.

Looking ahead, the firm expects net investments of $17-18bn (£13bn-14bn) for 2024 but warned that weaker oil and gas prices and reduced refining margins would weigh on the year ahead.

In particular, it highlighted the “tension” likely to remain around LNG markets thanks to a supply glut and continued rising demand.

Despite this, the company said it remains committed to distributing more than 40 per cent of its cash flow from operations to shareholders.

Total raised its final quarterly dividend for 2023 to €0.79 (£0.67) per share, from €0.74 (£0.63) previously, resulting in a 7.1 per cent increase in the full-year payout to €3.01 (£2.57) per share.

The company intends to buy back $2bn (£1.6bn) of its shares through the first quarter of 2024. It said it expected this to be the “base” quarterly level moving forward.

The interim dividend for 2024 will also be €0.79 (£0.69) per share.

Bloomberg columnist Javier Blas noted on X that chief executive Patrick Pouyanné told reporters today: “I think Totaleneries is a little boring to you, but it’s better to be consistent, and for continued success.”

Pouyanne also told analysts that the firm has not used the Red Sea for cargo transit for several weeks and would not be drawn on when the company would reconsider its position.

Profits for the last 12 months across the oil supermajors have, by and large, beaten analyst expectations, despite all decreasing by over 30 per cent on 2022 levels.

The company’s shares were down 1.3 per cent as of 11:13 AM.

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