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BHP Billiton H1 Profit Surges 72 Percent


World's largest miner BHP Billiton Group (BHP, BLT.L,BHP.AX, BBL, BHPBF.PK), comprising of BHP Billiton Ltd. and BHP Billiton Plc., reported Tuesday a 72 percent year-over-year surge in profit for the first half of fiscal year 2011, boosted by revenue growth across its customer sector groups amid increase in prices of core commodities and robust emerging market demand. Further, the company declared a 10 percent increase in interim dividend.

The Melbourne, Australia-based mining giant reported attributable profit of US$10.52 billion or US$1.89 per share for the first half, 71.5 percent higher than US$6.02 billion or US$1.10 per share in the same period last year.

Excluding exceptional items, attributable profit for the first-half surged 87.7 percent to US$10.70 billion or US$1.92 per basic share from US$5.70 billion or US$1.03 per basic share in the prior-year period.

Pre-tax profit was US$14.14 billion for the period, up from US$8.89 billion in the year-ago period.

BHP Billiton's revenues for the first half rose 39 percent to US$34.17 billion from US$24.58 billion in the same period last year. Revenue from group production was US$32.35 billion, higher than US$22.20 billion recorded in the previous year.

The company noted that the consistent deployment of capital towards high quality growth projects delivered half yearly production records across three commodities and five businesses.

Underlying EBIT climbed 74 percent to US$14.83 billion, with a margin of 46 percent, from the comparable period last year. Meanwhile, exchange rate movements and inflationary pressures had a combined negative impact of US$1.42 billion on Underlying EBIT.

Profit from operations for the period increased 59.2 percent to US$14.52 billion from US$9.12 billion in the prior-year period.

During the first half, the company noted that increases in prices across the majority of BHP Billiton's core commodities were driven by a combination of robust emerging market demand, stronger than expected developed market growth and ongoing supply constraints.

Further, adverse weather patterns in many producing countries, such as Australia, Brazil, Colombia, South Africa and Indonesia have had a substantial impact on supply, leading to tighter market fundamentals and stronger prices for commodities such as coal, iron ore and copper.

The company also declared a 9.5 percent higher interim dividend for the first half of 46.0 cents per share fully franked, payable on March 31, 2011 to shareholders of record as of March 11, 2011.

Looking ahead, BHP Billiton said it is cautiously optimistic on the short term outlook for the global economy given the continuation of robust growth in emerging markets and further positive signs of a sustainable recovery in major developed economies such as the United States. Despite the short term risks, it remains positive on the longer term outlook for the global economy.

BHP closed Tuesday's regular trading session at US$94.56, up $1.08 or 1.13 percent on a volume of 2.46 million shares.

In Wednesday's regular trading session on the Australian Securities Exchange, BHP.AX is trading at A$46.51, up $0.85 or 1.79 percent on a volume of 11.46 million shares.

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