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TOTAL (TOT) Earnings & Revenues Beat, Cost Cuts on Track

Integrated oil and gas company TOTAL S.A. TOT reported first-quarter 2016 operating earnings of 68 cents per share (€0.62 per share), easily surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 44 cents by 54.6%. Operating earnings however plunged 40% from $1.13 per share (€1.00 per share) a year ago.

Total Revenues

Total revenues in the reported quarter were $32.84 billion, down 22% from $42.31 billion in the year-ago quarter. However, revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $13.28 billion by 147.3%.

Production

Total hydrocarbon production during the first quarter of 2016 averaged 2,479 thousand barrels of oil equivalent (kboe) per day, up 4% year over year. The increase was primarily driven by new project startups, a lower level of maintenance and good field performance, partially offset by a natural decline.

In the first quarter, liquids production averaged 1,286 thousand barrels per day, up 4% from the prior-year quarter. Higher liquid production from Europe and Central Asia along with higher production in America lifted volumes.

Gas production during the quarter was 6,441 thousand cubic feet per day, up 2% year over year. Soft performance from the Middle East, Africa and America was more than offset by an increase in Asia-Pacific, Europe and Central Asia.

Realized Price

In first-quarter 2016, the realized price for Brent tumbled 37.1% to $33.90 per barrel from $53.90 per barrel in the year-ago quarter. The average realized liquid price also dropped 37.4% to $31.0 per barrel from $49.5 per barrel in the year-ago quarter.

Realized gas prices in first-quarter 2016 decreased 35.7% year over year to $3.46 per Mbtu.

Realized hydrocarbon prices in the first quarter declined 37% to $26.4 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe) from $41.8 per boe in first-quarter 2015.

Commodity prices started its downward curve from the second half of 2014. Despite registering an improvement in production, earnings per share and total revenues of the company were lower year over year primarily due to falling commodity prices.

Sale and Purchase of Assets

In the first quarter, TOTAL acquired assets worth $193 million, primarily comprising the acquisition of a service station network in the Dominican Republic. On the other hand, the company divested assets worth $885 million, including the sale of the FUKA gas pipeline network in the North Sea.

Financial Update

Cash and cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2016, were $20.57 billion compared with $25.05 billion as of Mar 31, 2015.

The net debt-to-equity ratio was 30.2% at the end of first-quarter 2016, up from 28.2% at the end of first-quarter 2015.

2016 Preview

TOTAL expects production from its Upstream segment to benefit from the recent startups. TOTAL’s overall production is expected to increase by 4% in 2016, with the startup of Angola LNG and Incahuasi expected by mid year and Kashagan by year end.

The Downstream segment is on course to generate $7 billion in cash flow.

TOTAL continues to work on cost management initiatives and targets to spend less than $19 billion in capital expenditures in 2016.

Peer Releases

BP plc BP reported first-quarter earnings of 17 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate was at a loss of 30 cents.

Other Upcoming Releases

ExxonMobil Corp. XOM is expected to report first-quarter 2016 earnings on Apr 29, 2016. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is 29 cents.

Chevron Corporation CVX is expected to report first-quarter earnings 2016 on Apr 29, 2016. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is a loss of 11 cents.

Our View

Despite the ongoing weakness in commodity prices, TOTAL was able to surpass estimates, thanks to its ongoing cost management efforts. TOTAL has been able to lower operating expenses as per its plans and aims to save nearly $900 million in expenses in 2016.

The two Upstream startups are also contributing to the company’s production while three other projects are lined up to begin operation this year. This will help the company to improve its production by 4% year over year in 2016.

TOTAL currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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