TotalEnergies, a financial heavyweight tempted by stock market exile

TotalEnergies, a financial heavyweight tempted by stock market exile
TotalEnergies, a financial heavyweight tempted by stock market exile

When your name is TotalEnergies, any question can quickly become political, including that of stock market quotation. Three weeks after the declarations of the CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, on a possible transfer to the New York Stock Exchange of the main listing of the company, Emmanuel Macron called him, Wednesday May 22, in The Express has “clarify your agenda” and to be “consistent with one’s own choices”.

“I think that Total never had to complain about being French when it went into its export markets,” added the President of the Republic. A very different tone from that adopted at the beginning of the month by his Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, who declared: “We need Total. » But which underlines that the role of the company is not only economic and social, it is also financial.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers “For the Paris Stock Exchange, depriving itself of TotalEnergies would be serious, and, politically, it would be disastrous”

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With a capitalization of 160 billion euros, TotalEnergies is certainly no longer number one on the Paris Stock Exchange, a title held today by the luxury giant LVMH, valued at 390 billion. But its financial performance remains impressive, with 21.4 billion dollars (19.8 billion euros) in profits in 2023, a share whose price has doubled in three and a half years, more than 7 billion euros in dividends to pay this year, without forgetting 2 billion dollars spent each quarter to buy back its own shares and thus reward its shareholders a little more, led by its employees, owners of 7.4% of the capital.

“Pressure strike”

Hearing a group in such good health talk about a departure to Wall Street is therefore not good news for a government seeking to strengthen French financial appeal. “To think that this would not bring cash flows to the United States would be a mistake”warns a manager of a large European asset manager.

A change in the basis of the rating is, however, considered not very credible by many analysts and investors, some seeing in Mr. Pouyanné’s remarks more a political “pressure move” or an expression of his weariness in the face of recurring criticism aimed at the company’s strategy. band.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers TotalEnergies is considering making Wall Street its main stock market base

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Because the French major has become a preferred target of non-governmental organizations and investors committed to the energy transition, to the point that the banks with which it works are also regularly called into question. This situation undoubtedly explains the reluctance of some of them to speak publicly about their relations with TotalEnergies, and those who speak to put their importance into perspective.

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