French energy giant Total, SA (NYSE: TOT – $48.86) said cost-cutting and an oil-output increase helped offset the collapse in crude prices as it reported a second-quarter profit of $2.97 billion. The company said net profit fell 4% in the second quarter from the same period a year ago, while revenue contracted 29% to $44.72 billion. When adjusted to exclude the effect of inventories and other nonrecurring items, the company’s net profit fell to $3.09 billion or $1.29 per share down from $3.15 billion ($1.36/share) in the same quarter a year ago. The adjusted profit data was higher than the $2.75 billion analyst forecast – or $1.15 per share – thanks in part to the company’s downstream and other businesses. The refining segment is getting a facelift. The company is transforming its two (out of five) underperforming facilities in France. One will focus on biofuels, abandoning oil processing, and the other will handle more low-sulfur fuels. Total, SA raised output to an average 2.3 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in the quarter, up from 2.05 million barrels a day in the same period a year earlier. The company also has said it is on track to cut costs to $1.2 billion this year. In line with its plans to sell assets, it announced it sold a 20% stake in a North Sea project for $797 million to SSE PLC. The company did not provide guidance for the remainder of the year, but Wall Street is pricing the stock to earn about $4.00 per share, down from $5.34 last year. The dividend yield of 6.1% will provide some lift for a total return advance to late decade.