BHP Bil­li­ton books $8b loss on im­pair­ments, debt rises

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

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.

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