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BHP annual profit rises on robust iron ore prices, pays record dividend

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BHP annual profit rises on robust iron ore prices, pays record dividend
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   -   Copyright  CHRIS HELGREN(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – BHP Group <BHP.AX>, the world’s biggest miner, posted a 2% rise in full-year profit helped by a windfall from higher iron ore prices, and declared a record final dividend on Tuesday.

Iron ore prices have staged a dramatic rally this year, with the Dalian iron ore benchmark more than doubling, amid supply outages from Brazil and Australia earlier this year and more Chinese appetite for the steel-making ingredient.

China’s iron ore imports surged 21% in July from the month before to their highest level since January, as supply grew from miners in Australia and Brazil.

Iron ore shipments to China from Australia’s Port Hedland terminal, the world’s biggest iron ore port and used by BHP, had risen more than 11% in June.

Underlying profit for the twelve months ended June 30 rose to $9.12 billion (£7.52 billion) from $8.93 billion a year earlier.

Underlying profit is a measure of the company’s core performance excluding one-time gains and losses.

Including one-time items, profit more than doubled to $8.31 billion, which includes $1 billion in productivity losses for fiscal 2019 on disruptions to production at its copper and iron ore operations.

BHP declared a final dividend of 78 cents per share, up from 63 cents last year.

(Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Bernard Orr)

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