Bumper H1 profit for Rio Tinto

New Straits Times - - Business -

SYD­NEY/LON­DON: Global miner Rio Tinto more than dou­bled its first-half profit and re­warded share­hold­ers with a record in­terim div­i­dend and a fur­ther US$1 bil­lion (RM4.29 bil­lion) in share buy­backs, cit­ing strong de­mand for in­dus­trial com­modi­ties.

Un­der­ly­ing earn­ings for the six months to June 30 of US$3.94 bil­lion missed fore­casts for US$4.19 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Thom­son Reuters I/B/E/S, but were well above last year’s US$1.56 bil­lion on a re­cov­ery in iron ore and other com­mod­ity prices.

Rio Tinto de­clared a record­high half-year div­i­dend of US$1.10 a share, equiv­a­lent to US$2 bil­lion, up from 45 cents a share a year ago. The lat­est buy­back comes on top of a US$500 mil­lion pro­gramme an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary.

“The Chi­nese econ­omy has per­formed well in 2017 and the out­look signs for 2018 are pos­i­tive,” said chief ex­ec­u­tive JeanSe­bastien Jac­ques.

Rio’s Lon­don-listed shares were trad­ing down 1.8 per cent in early trade, with an­a­lysts cit­ing some dis­ap­point­ment over the miss in earn­ings, linked to the cost of pay­ing down debt early.

Iron ore, which gen­er­ated US$3.255 bil­lion in un­der­ly­ing

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