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BHP Billiton first-half net profit jumps 72%

02-16-2011 15:04 BJT

CANBERRA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- BHP Billiton on Wednesday posted a 72 percent rise to almost 10.6 billion U.S. dollars in first- half net profit.

The world's biggest mining company also unveiled plans to return 10 billion U.S. dollars to shareholders through a share buyback this year.

The Australian newspaper reported that Wednesday's profit result beat market expectations, as Reuters analysts earlier expected a profit of 10.3 billion U.S. dollars in the period.

As the demand for industrial raw materials surged along with the recovery of the global economy, BHP's net profit jumped to a record 10.52 billion U.S. dollars in its first half from 6.14 billion U.S. dollars a year ago.

The global mining giant said revenue for the six months to the end of December was up 39 percent to 34.17 billion U.S. dollars from 24.57 billion U.S. dollars a year earlier.

BHP will pay an interim dividend of 46 U.S. cents compared with 42 U.S. cents the previous year, and the 10 billion U.S. dollars buyback will be carried out in both on and off market transactions.

BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers said the results had been achieved despite BP's major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and flood disasters, including inundations which paralyzed mining in Australia.

BHP's short-term outlook is cautiously optimistic, given the continued growth in emerging markets and signs of a sustainable recovery in the U.S.

Kloppers said the company expects strength in commodities markets, but warned prices could be volatile.

"While we expect a slowdown in the growth rate of global commodity demand in calendar year 2011, the economic environment still underpins a robust near-term outlook for our products," a BHP statement said.

As well as returning cash to investors, the company said it will spend 80 billion U.S. dollars on expansion plans over the next five years.

Earlier, investors were expecting a big share buyback offer from BHP after rival Rio Tinto announced plans to return five billion U.S. dollars to shareholders last week.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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