PARIS Feb 9 French oil major Total
said it is hunting out opportunities to buy plumb assets from
struggling rivals after it reported better-than-expected fourth
quarter net profits, thanks to costs savings that enabled it to
raise its dividend.
Total rewarded shareholders with an increased fourth-quarter
dividend of 0.62 euros per share, compared with 0.61 in the
previous three quarters, as adjusted net profits rose 16 percent
to $2.4 billion in the quarter compared with Q4 2015.
Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said Total's
results "strongly outperform" its peers as the company showed
its resilience during a prolonged downturn in oil prices.
Earlier this week, Total's rival BP reported that its
annual earnings had fallen for a second consecutive year.
Pouyanne added that Total's strong balance sheet and
financial clout meant it could look for opportunities to pick up
attractive assets. Total plans to make final investment
decisions on about 10 projects within the next 18 months.
"We are in a field of opportunities. We have a good balance
sheet and financial means that others do not have," Pouyanne
"After two years of very low prices, there are companies
around the world that have good assets but are struggling. It is
left to us to chose good assets that are of interest to us," he
(Reporting by Bate Felix and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Sudip