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Total disappoints with 20% profit drop in 2013

French oil giant Total said on Wednesday its 2013 net profit dipped 20 percent to 8.4 billion euros ($11.45 billion), on the back of higher exploration charges and crumbling refinery margins in Europe.

PARIS: French oil giant Total said on Wednesday its 2013 net profit dipped 20 percent to 8.4 billion euros (US$11.45 billion), on the back of higher exploration charges and crumbling refinery margins in Europe.

Adjusted net income, a key measure which excludes some volatile or non-recurrent items, was down 12 percent to 10.7 billion euros.

Total sales fell 5 percent to 189.5 billion euros, the group said.

Production was stable for last year, instead of showing the increase Total had forecast.

Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie said "the significant deterioration of European refining margins was partially offset by a more favourable environment for petrochemicals".

Total's spree of capital expenditure peaked in 2013 and was to fall this year and going forward.

"The intensive investment phase that we embarked on... reached a peak of 28 billion dollars in 2013," Margerie said.

"The significant deterioration of European refining margins was partially offset by a more favourable environment for petrochemicals," he said.

Despite the setback for production, the group said it was holding to its target of raising output steadily to 2017 and beyond with new projects in Africa, Canada, Russia and Brazil.

Even though the annual results fell short of expectations, the group said that it intended to increase its dividend for 2013 by 1.7 percent to 2.38 euros per share from 2.34 euros in 2012.

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