Rio Tinto earnings rise to US$10.34bil

BENGALURU: Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto posted its best underlying earnings since 2011 on higher iron ore prices, but warned that the coronavirus outbreak could hurt business in the short term.

The coronavirus outbreak has weighed on China’s economy and BHP Group warned earlier this month that demand this year could take a hit if the fallout extended beyond March.

“We are closely monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 virus and are prepared for some short-term impacts, such as supply-chain issues. Our products are currently reaching our customers,” chief executive officer Jean-Sébastien Jacques said in a statement.

The world’s top iron ore producer said underlying earnings for the full year ended Dec31 rose to US$10.37bil, from US$8.81bil a year earlier. It was slightly under a consensus estimate of US$10.40bil by 17 analysts compiled by research firm Vuma Financial.

Rio also declared a final dividend of US$2.31 per share, higher than US$1.8 per share in 2018, but did not announce a special dividend like last year. — Reuters
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