Total announces $5.7 billion in earnings for the second quarter of 2022, more than double the same period last year, and more than $18.8 billion in earnings for the first quarter of 2022 alone.”What Total is doing with its increased profits is increasing shareholder compensation, and that’s extremely problematic‘ believes Maxime Combes.
franceinfo: How can such results be explained?
Maxim combs : Price inflation in world markets means that all refiners can make much larger than usual profit margins on this activity. This is related to the increase in prices throughout the production chain. As a result, we therefore have extraordinary and incredible gains that exceed any expectations that the markets could have had in recent years.
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How much weight does the commercial gesture of 20 cents less per liter of fuel that Total grants from the start of the school year weigh?
It would be necessary to have the real numbers of what that means in terms of sales, but Total announced that it would undoubtedly amount to 500 million euros. That’s just under 0.2% of TotalEnergies’ revenue in 2021. That’s an extremely small fraction of what Total paid its shareholders last year, nearly €9 billion. That’s a stock that’s all the lower as its earnings skyrocket in 2022. TotalEnergies has already announced an increase in its dividend for 2022 and its share buybacks. So what Total is primarily doing with increasing its profits is increasing shareholder compensation, and that’s extremely problematic.
Whereas @TotalEnergies Announcing a profit of more than 17.7 billion euros ($18.8 billion) in the first half of 2022 alone, we can say that the group has not paid any corporate income tax in France, neither in 2019 nor in 2020
— Maxime Combes (@MaximCombes) July 28, 2022
Why do you think the situation is “problematic”?
We can say that Total did not pay corporate tax in France in either fiscal 2019 or fiscal 2020, which was expected in fiscal 2020 since Total had announced record losses that year, but in 2019 is rather surprising since Total already has 10 billion euros profit worldwide and paid no corporate tax in France that year. This livens up the debate about “super profits in large corporations should be taxed“, but also the more general debate about “should we impose taxes on these large groups that do not pay them in France“.
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Aurore Bergé, leader of the Renaissance Group in the National Assembly, asserts that Total already pays taxes in France, do you think that is wrong?
I don’t know what Aurore Bergé is basing this on, but it’s completely wrong, I’m basing it on the data published by Total. This is a country report of what Total has paid in taxes in each country. In its 2019 financial year, TotalEnergies made it clear that the group did not pay any corporate tax in France and even received a check from the treasury because it had paid a significantly higher sum in previous years. TotalEnergies does not pay its fair share of taxes on national territory and TotalEnergies justifies non-payment of taxes in France by the fact that its profits are based outside France, while the group has 21% of its activities in France and a quarter of its employees in France and is headquartered in France. Without forgetting that it is a group supported by the public sector in its investments abroad.