Oil prices lower profit at France's Total despite cost cuts

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — Lagging oil prices pushed first quarter profits down 40 percent at France's Total SA, though cuts in costs and investments cushioned the blow.

The energy company on Wednesday announced net income of $1.6 billion in the quarter, down from $2.66 billion in the same period last year. Sales fell to $32.8 billion from $42.3 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

Total sold off assets in the North Sea and announced a sale of its stake in Russia's Kharyaga field during the quarter as part of overall plans to reduce activities in Europe and Russia.

The profit drop echoes the pattern at oil companies worldwide over the past year and a half. Prices have recovered slightly since January to the $45 range but remain much lower than last year.