Deutsche Bank analysts see Rio Tinto announcing a dividend of US$1.345 per share for the first six months of the year when it unveils its financial results on Aug. 2, The Age reported Aug. 1.
The bank also expects the company's net debt to drop to US$7.6 billion, which equates to a 14% gearing, well below the targeted range of 20% to 30%.
Deutsche Bank also predicted that the company will announce a further US$500 million on-market share buyback for its London shares.
Analysts at Credit Suisse believe the miner is set to deliver up to US$2.5 billion in capital returns this half, followed by US$5 billion in 2018.
In a recent report, UBS analyst Glyn Lawcock expects the mining giant to post profits across all business units, except copper and diamonds, and book underlying earnings of US$4.2 billion. UBS sees the copper and diamonds business breaking even.
Meanwhile, the company's iron ore business is expected to contribute US$3.29 billion in underlying earnings, representing an 89% jump year over year.