BHP Billiton: Earnings to stay strong

  • Business
  • Thursday, 19 Aug 2004

SYDNEY: BHP Billiton sees continuing strong demand for its products despite China's attempts to slow economic growth, putting it in a strong position to increase earnings after a record US$3.51bil net profit for the June year, up from the previous year's US$1.92bil net profit. 

The Anglo-Australian dual listed resources giant said the latest year's profits, which matched market consensus forecast, followed better earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) contributions across all its key business groups. 

Net profit including exceptional items was US$3.379bil, versus US$1.901bil a year earlier. 

Petroleum remained the largest contributor, lifting EBIT to US$1.391bil from US$1.178bil a year earlier while the base metals group's contribution jumped to US$1.156bil from US$286mil a year earlier. 

The group's directors raised the final dividend to 9.5 US cents a share from 7.5 cents, taking the total payout for the year to 26 cents from 14.5 cents, and announced plans for a US$2bil capital management programme which could include a share buyback. 

BHP Billiton said the timing of such a scheme would depend on market conditions. 

The company said the global economy had been experiencing a significant increase in growth with synchronised demand increases in many economies. 

It said that of particular note had been the strong growth of China, Japan and other Asian economies. 

BHP Billiton said the recovery in the United States had also been an important contributor to global growth and that economic activity in Europe had been experiencing a steady recovery from a relatively low base. – AFX-Asia  

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