BHP Billiton Profit Doubles to $9B in H1; No Planned Exit from London Stock Exchange

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 18, 2014 12:26 PM EST

Mining giant BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) reported on Tuesday a first half profit of A$9 billion for its 2014 financial year. It is almost double compared to BHP's profit 12 months ago and better than most analysts' expectations.

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Global miner BHP Billiton is facing a two-week work stoppage at its Illawarra Coal Appin Mine unit as some 50 supervisors demand for an 18 per cent increase in their pay.

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It is an improvement from the 30 per cent slide in earnings in 2013.

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Most analysts expected BHP's underlying earnings to reach $6.95 billion, while UBS forecast $6.88 billion.

With the healthy profit, BHP raised dividends to $0.59, which is in line with rise in dividends the past two half year results, although slightly lower than the $0.60 expectation of UBS.

BHP doubled its profit due to the improvement on its $5.68 billion underlying earnings. With this development, BHP expected to grow its full year profits in fiscal 2014 for the first time since 2011.

Meanwhile, BHP said that it has no plans to exit the London stock exchange and would continue its dual listing in London and Australia. A BHP spokeswoman said the structure works and continues to serve its shareholders.

There are reports that BHP put together a team during the 2nd half of 2014 to simplify its $121-billion business, including its dual listing in the two major bourses.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the project was called unification which would focus on simplifying internal processes, financial management and legal structures. It allegedly was approved by BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie who became CEO in May 2013.

However, the daily said the idea was abandoned because of the difficulty in delisting from London. Besides being an anticipated very complicated task, doubts have been made on the ability of the Australian market to handle a company with a market capitalisation 50 per cent bigger than the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

BHP listed in London in June 2011 after it merged with Billiton of South Africa. It was done to match the dual listing of main competitor Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) which is also trading in London.

"Our dual-listed structure has allowed all of our shareholders to share in the continued growth of China and the demand it has generated for our products," the BHP spokeswoman added.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Global miner BHP Billiton is facing a two-week work stoppage at its Illawarra Coal Appin Mine unit as some 50 supervisors demand for an 18 per cent increase in their pay.
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