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Total reports better than expected Q4 net profit, to cut costs

French oil and gas firm Total reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Thursday and announced further cost reductions and asset sales in 2016 to enable it to weather low oil prices.

Oil prices have fallen by 70 percent since mid-2014 due to global oversupply and slow economic growth, hitting oil and gas company profits and forcing them to cut costs, reduce capital spending, delay projects and cut jobs.

"The resilience in a downgraded environment demonstrates the effectiveness of the group's integrated model," Total's Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.

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Total said its net adjusted income in the last quarter of 2015 fell 26 percent to $2.1 billion year-on-year compared with the fourth quarter of 2014.

The firm's hydrocarbons output grew 5.5 percent to 2.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day year-on-year.

Reuters analysts had expected Total's net adjusted profit at $1.931 billion and production at 2.371 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The firm said it plans to cut capital spending to around $19 billion in 2016 and targets asset sales of about $4 billion.

Total said it took a one-time charge of $3.7 billion in the quarter.

It said it plans to pay a fourth-quarter dividend of 0.61 euros per share and shareholders will have the option of receiving the payment in cash or new discounted shares.

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