30 Aug 2010

Big rise in profit reported by BHP Billiton

7:07 am on 30 August 2010

The mining industry in Australia continues to prosper.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent reports that the numbers were mind-boggling when BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, released its annual profit results.

With commodity prices booming and production steaming ahead, BHP more than doubled its annual net profit to $US12.7 billion ($NZ17 billion).

The previous result had been affected by asset writedowns. But even allowing for that, underlying profit was still up 16%.

With debt low and plenty of cash in the bank, Radio New Zealand's correspondent says, BHP is seen as well positioned in its takeover bid for the giant Canadian fertiliser company Potash Corp.

BHP insists, however, that it will not overpay for a company it sees as a way of diversifying its exposure to agricultural commodities.