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Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) or Total S.A. (ADR) (TOT)? This Supermajor Pays a Super Dividend

TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT pays the highest dividend among the oil and gas Supermajors, paying investors an impressive 6% dividend yield. Other notable Supermajors include BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).
Total is a France-based integrated international oil and gas company, operating in over 130 countries and across all aspects of the petroleum industry, upstream and downstream.
Even more impressive is that TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT) produces base chemicals, has interests in coal mining and power generation, and is also active in solar-photovoltaic power.
Another big plus is that Total has one of the best production growth profiles among the oil Supermajors, with impressive exposure to the growing hydrocarbon producing regions of the world, and the lowest exposure to the mature North American region.
Total is looking to continue its expansion, even with its already diversified production profile. For 2012, the company’s top three production areas were Africa (31% of total production), the Middle East (21%) and Europe (19%).
TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT) has a solid balance sheet and cash flow, having generated $28.9 billion in cash flow from operations in 2012, a 15% increase year over year. The oil and gas company also lowered its debt level in 2012, with net debt-to-equity down from 23% in 2011 to 21.4% as of the end of 2012.
As far as hedge fund interest, what’s interesting is the conviction that a few hedge funds have. These include International Value Advisers and Astenbeck Capital, with 6.4% and 9.2% of their public equity portfolio invested in the company, respectively. As well, Seminole Capital added Total to its portfolio during the fourth quarter, and the company now makes up 5.8% of its portfolio (check out Seminole’s energy picks).

Other Supermajors

Chevron is another major industry operator, with a strong focus in downstream operations, owning eight refineries and having an interest in six international refineries through affiliates, for a total operable capacity of 1.953 million b/d (52% North America). Part of Chevron’s key focus is on improving its refinery efficiency and portfolio via cost controls. Chevron’s dividend yield is a mere 3.1%.
Unlike Chevron’s focus on downstream operations, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is looking to benefit from upstream growth opportunities in the deepwater and onshore unconventional plays. As well, the company plans to embark on further expansion activities into the global LNG market.
Including its non-consolidated equity interests, its proved oil and gas reserves are a diversified mix, with 51% weighted toward liquids. Exxon expects production to fall 1% in 2013, but grow 2%-3% per year in 2013-2017. What’s more is that the oil and gas company replaced 115% of its 2012 production. Its dividend yield is 2.6%.
Despite a 6% fall year over year in production during full year 2012, fourth quarter production was up 8% sequentially, and EPS came in at $2.20, compared to $1.97 in the same quarter last year.
Billionaire Ken Fisher is a major investor in both Chevron and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) as of the end of 2012. Fisher has 1.1% of his public equity portfolio invested in Chevron and 1.15% in Exxon (check out Fisher’s cheap picks). However, Exxon has one of the most famous billionaires as its top hedge fund owner. Bill Gates Foundation owns over 7.6 million shares — 3.94% of its portfolio (see Gates’ top picks).

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