BHP Billiton books $8b loss on impairments, debt rises
BHP Billiton has plunged to a $US6.4 billion ($8.1 billion) after-tax loss on the back of $US7.7 billion in impairments, after what chief executive Andrew Mackenzie described as a “challenging” year.
The global mining giant declared underlying earnings before interest and tax of $US3.5 billion, down 71 per cent from last year’s underlying profit of $US11.9 billion.
Despite boasting of a 16 per cent improvement in unit cash costs across its suite of commodities, BHP’s net debt rose 7 per cent, or $US1.7 billion, to $US26.1 billion.
BHP declared a US14 cents-a-share dividend, after yielding to pressure at the start of the year and giving up on its long-held progressive dividend policy.
In a statement, Mr Mackenzie said the company expected to deliver another $US1.8 billion of productivity gains over the next year.
He forecast its operations would deliver more than $US7 billion in free cash flow and a reduction in the company’s net debt.