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Total SAs overhaul of its refining and petrochemicals businesses isnt in preparation for a sale

October 11/2011

(Bloomberg) -- Total SAs overhaul of its refining, petrochemicals and marketing businesses isnt in preparation for a sale, Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said. No, there is no planned IPO or sale, he said at a briefing to discuss the merger of the refining and petrochemicals divisions and creation of a separate fuel- marketing operation. One can never say never, but our biggest preoccupation is to make this tool better performing. Total, Europes biggest refiner, said there wont be job cuts following the reorganization.

There is urgency because the market is bad. The European market is not growing, Margerie said today, adding that refining margins were negative in August and early September and have now climbed to about USD 22 a ton.

De Margerie raised a profit target for the refining and marketing business between 2010 and 2014.

The aim of the plan is to unlock value for the activities, even in European and U.S. markets where demand for fuel products is decreasing, he said. I think we can make refining and chemicals profitable in Europe.

Europes third-largest oil company has reduced refining through the closure of its plant near Dunkirk in France, capacity reduction at Normandy and the sale of its 49 percent stake in Spains Cia. Espanola de Petroleos SA. Total is also trying to sell its Lindsey plant in the U.K.

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