BHP Group is expected to set two record dividends as the mining giant reports on Aug. 20 what is believed to be its biggest annual earnings in five years thanks to strong iron ore prices, The Australian Financial Review reported Aug. 19.
For the second half of BHP's fiscal year, analysts at Citi and UBS forecast the highest final dividend in company history of 79 U.S. cents and 82 U.S. cents per share, respectively, the report said.
Citi and UBS projected total dividends for the year ended June 30 of US$2.36 and US$2.39 per share, respectively, which would eclipse BHP's previous full-year dividend record of US$1.24 per share.
BHP already paid US$8.6 billion worth of dividends in January and February, which is already the highest the mining giant distributed to shareholders compared to any previous year, the report said.
The payout, which does not include a US$5.2 billion share buyback in December 2018, was boosted by BHP's US$10.8 billion sale of U.S. shales assets in July 2018. However, the report said that even without the divestment, the two analysts still expect the miner to set a new full-year dividend record for its fiscal 2019.
According to the report, an analyst consensus published by Bloomberg forecast a US$9.91 billion underlying profit for BHP, while UBS expects it to top US$10 billion. Either result would be BHP's biggest earnings since it reported more than US$13 billion in fiscal 2014, the report said.