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BHP's fiscal H1'20 profit rises 29% YOY; interim dividend up 18%

BHP Group said Feb. 18 that it booked an attributable net profit of US$4.87 billion, or 96.0 cents per diluted share, in the first half of its fiscal 2020, up 29% from US$3.76 billion, or 70.8 cents per diluted share, in the same period of the previous year.

The company's revenue for the six months grew 3% to US$22.29 billion, while underlying EBITDA amounted to US$12.08 billion, a 15% increase. Underlying attributable profit for the period gained 29% to US$5.19 billion, while attributable comprehensive income amounted to US$4.86 billion.

However, during the six-month period, BHP recognized an exceptional loss of US$318 million, related to its cancellation of existing power contracts at the Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile in order to shift to renewable energy, plus reparations over the 2015 dam failure at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil.

BHP recorded an income tax expense of US$2.53 billion, rising from US$2.22 billion in the comparable year-earlier period. Net debt ballooned to US$12.84 billion, for a 21% change.

Capital and exploration expenditure over the fiscal half-year period totaled US$3.80 billion, representing an 8% increase and within the mid-point of full fiscal year 2020 guidance of lower than US$8 billion.

The mining giant declared a fully-franked interim dividend of 65 cents per share for the half, increasing 18% from 55 cents per share in the first half of fiscal 2019.

For the half year ended Dec. 31, 2019, BHP's iron ore output inched up 2% to 121.40 million tonnes. The miner expects stronger iron ore output in the second half of fiscal 2020, though full-year guidance remains at 242 Mt to 253 Mt.

Earlier this week, BHP reportedly reduced its ownership of an Australian coal export terminal and transferred a portion of its port capacity amid its expected exit from thermal coal, according to The Australian Financial Review.