© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Visitors to the BHP (formerly known as BHP Billiton) booth speak with representatives during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Ph
(Reuters) – BHP Group (NYSE:) reported its best annual profit in nearly a decade and said it will pay a record dividend, as the world’s biggest miner benefited from soaring iron ore prices on the back of robust demand from China.
Iron ore prices hit record highs this year supported by Beijing’s infrastructure push, although a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China and its vow to lower emissions by curbing steel output is expected to be a drag on the commodity.
The full-year profit and bumper dividend sent BHP’s London-listed shares nearly 10% higher, as the company said it would do away with its dual-listed structure and give up its London berth.
BHP’s Australia-listed shares rose more than a fifth this year as it posted record iron ore output and earned more than double per tonne for the steelmaking ingredient.
The company’s underlying profit for fiscal 2021 rose to $17.08 billion, but missed a consensus of $17.46 billion compiled by Vuma.
The miner will pay $2 per share as a final dividend, totalling $10.1 billion, bringing the total payout for the year to $3.01 a share.
BHP said it was going ahead with the Jansen potash project in Canada, which is expected to cost $5.7 billion in the first phase, offering the company a route to diversify into “future-facing commodities”.
The Jansen investment decision comes as the company also said on Tuesday that it would sell its oil and gas business to Woodside (OTC:) Petroleum Ltd in an all-stock deal.
Jansen is expected to produce 4.35 million tonnes of potash per year from 2027. Potash is a key element in plant nutrition that also makes crops more drought resistant.
BHP also took an impairment charge of $1.3 billion this year related to a potash asset.
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