AusRAIL, Market Sectors

BHP chalks up record profits

<p>BHP Billiton recorded another record annual profit today (Thursday, August 22) with an attributable profit rise of 34.7% to US$13.7bn ($16.8bn).</p> <p>The company also broke new ground in production of natural gas, alumina, aluminium, copper, nickel, iron ore, manganese ore and metallurgical coal and prospects look good next year for oil, copper, iron ore and nickel.</p> <p>Cost, however, also increased, with the miner noting demurrage, shipping, freight and other distribution charges contributing to an extra 3.6%, or US$859m in total, to outgoings.</p> <p>Other costs were in labour and contractor charges, consumables and fuels, maintenance and other operational items.</p> <p>The company was confident the global economic fundamentals would remain relatively strong on the back of &#8220solid activity in Asia and Europe&#8221 and continued strong growth in China, though the US economy continued to soften.</p> <p>BHP Billiton reported record output and profits as demand for commodities continues to be strong.</p> <p>Earnings before interest and tax were up 27% to US$23bn and underlying pre-tax earnings were 31% higher to $20bn in the year to June 30. </p> <p>Net operating cash flow was a record at $15.6bn. </p> <p>BHP Billiton, claiming to be the world’s second largest ship leasor, with around 140m tonnes contracted, said rising shipping and port costs are passed on to consumers so have limited impact on its margins. </p> <p>&#8220We had outstanding operating and financial performance driven by price improvements and record commodity production,&#8221 chief executive Chip Goodyear said. </p> <p>&#8220Around 17 of our assets reported production records.</p> <p>&#8220The outlook is positive &#8211 growth in the US is modest, but in China and India, their economies are good and demand is strong. </p> <p>&#8220These countries are the most significant consumers of raw materials. </p> <p>&#8220In 2008, we will have strong growth in several commodities because we have plenty of projects to be developed.&#8221</p> <br />