On the back of commodity price rises, BHP Billiton, the worlds largest mining company, today announced a massive 72% rise in profit for the first half of the financial year.
As a consequence shareholder returns have increased dramatically, from 188.6 cents per share for the 6 months to December 31st 2010, up from 109 cents a share from a year earlier. This has also seen BHP double its share buyback scheme to $10 billion.
Record iron ore prices and Chinas prolific appetite for the commodity has been the significant catalyst for the result. The interim dividend to shareholders has also as result been increased to 46 cents per share, up from 42 cents a year earlier.
BHP plans to spend around $80 billion on mine and oil fields between now and 2015.
BHP shares have traded lower today though on the ASX, a case of “buy on the rumour, sell on the fact”. Mid way through the trading day, BHP were trading at $46.54, down $0.82c.