The Board of Directors of French energy major Total S.A. (NYSE: TOT – $63.21) declared a first interim dividend for the 2018 fiscal year of €0.64 per share (equal to about US$0.75), an increase of 3.2% compared to the three interim dividends and the final dividend paid for the 2017 fiscal year. Total’s Board also decided to offer shareholders to receive the interim dividend either in cash or as new shares of the company. The share price to be issued as payment is targeted at about US$61.87. The ex-dividend date has been set at September 21 for ADR shareholders who will receive the new dividend payment or stock equivalent on October 19.
Profits should continue to accelerate for integrated oil producer Total. On top of cost savings, management is returning a decent amount of capital to shareholders via share buybacks and dividends. Bottom line forecasts for this year and next are in the vicinity of $5.36 and $6.29 per ADR, respectively. On a risk-adjusted basis, Total offers worthwhile upside over the pull to the next decade and the above-average dividend yield of 4.7% sweetens the pot.