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Profits Fall at TotalFinaElf

September 4, 2002

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PARIS (AP) _ French oil company TotalFinaElf SA said low profit margins in its refining business contributed to a 40-percent drop in its second-quarter profit.

The oil giant reported that net profit fell to 1.5 billion euros ($1.49 billion) in the April-June period compared to 2.50 billion euros a year earlier.

Revenue fell 7 percent to 26.4 billion euros ($26.3 billion) from 28.4 billion a year ago.

Excluding nonrecurring items, profits fell 24 percent to 1.63 billion euros ($1.62 billion) from 2.13 billion euros in the same period last year.

The company said operating income excluding nonrecurring items in its marketing and refining activities fell by 67 percent to 573 million euros ($571 million).

``TotalFinaElf performed well given the downturn in the oil market environment,″ said chief executive Thierry Desmarest. He said its decline in profit was less than the average reported by its major competitors.

The company said that in the third quarter, the oil market remains mixed and refining margins are at very low levels. Profit margins in its petrochemicals business have recently rebounded, however.

TotalFinaElf said it hopes to sell a total 2 billion euros ($1.99 billion) worth of assets this year. In the first half of the year, its divestments _ mainly financial holdings _ amounted to 1.05 billion euros ($1.04 billion).

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