|BHP reports US$8b earnings in first half
Global mining giant BHP Billiton said first-half net profit soared 83 percent to US$8.1 billion.
The result for the six months to December 31 was above expectations compared with US$4.2 billion in the previous corresponding period. Revenues climbed 5.9 percent to US$33.95 billion, AFP reports.
Underlying earnings – which exclude one-off writedowns – gained 31 percent to a higher than forecast US$7.8 billion.
Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said the performance was driven by improvements in productivity and extra volume from assets.
He said the company slashed operating costs by US$4.9 billion in the past 18 months.
“The commitment we made 18 months ago to deliver more tonnes and more barrels from our existing infrastructure at a lower unit cost is delivering tangible results,'' he said.
“Annualized productivity led volume and cost efficiencies totalling US$4.9 billion are now embedded and this is expected to increase to US$5.5 billion by the end of the 2014 financial year.
“With strong free cash flow, selective investment and continued simplification, we are well placed to extend our strong track record of capital management,'' he added.
BHP said there had been strong operating performances across its diversified portfolio, delivering a 10 percent increase in production, with records achieved across three commodities and 10 operations.
Iron ore production from the resource-rich Pilbara region in Western Australia achieved record production of 108 million tonnes in the first half, benefiting from the early delivery of first production from its Jimblebar mine.
This helped boost iron ore earnings by more than 35 percent to US$6.5 billion, despite weather-related downtime and an increase in planned maintenance.
Fellow mining major Rio Tinto last week unveiled production and shipment records for the key steel-making ingredient in the same area.
BHP's Queensland coal operations also achieved record output, while petroleum liquids production increased 9 percent to 50 million barrels of oil equivalent. Copper production also jumped 6 percent to 843,000 tonnes.