Total Beats Q3 Expectations Helped By New Projects, Cost Cuts


PARIS, Oct 28 (Reuters) - France's Total battled lower refining margins to beat third-quarter profit expectations on Friday helped by cost cuts, output from new projects and the sale of a solar farm.

Total reported a 25 percent fall in third-quarter adjusted net income to $2.1 billion, beating the $1.880 billion expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $37.4 billion.

"Total's Q3 results look resilient. Total continues to post solid earnings and there's a lot to like about the direction of travel," analysts at Jefferies who maintain a 'hold' rating on the stock said in a note.

Total said the sale of a solar farm by U.S. subsidiary SunPower had provided a significant boost to its results.

Italian peer Eni reported a worse-than-expected adjusted net loss for the quarter hurt by a shutdown at a key Italian field.

Total said costs were falling faster than expected and that it would aim to deliver $4 billion in savings by 2018.

It said savings would top $2.7 billion in 2016, 10 percent more than foreseen at the start of the year.

In the upstream segment where it is finding most of its savings, Total said its operating cost per barrel had fallen by about 40 percent since 2014 to below $6 per barrel.

Total's shares were down 1.02 percent by 0946 GMT to lag the broader CAC 40 index which was up 0.13 percent but in line a European oil and gas index down 1.00 percent.

(Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Jason Neely)


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