By Rhiannon Hoyle 
 

BHP Group Ltd. said its first-half net profit more than doubled, underpinned by strong prices for all of its commodities, including copper and coal.

The world's largest-listed miner by market value said it made a net profit of $9.44 billion in the six months through December. It made a profit of $3.88 billion in the same period a year earlier, when impairment charges against its coal assets weighed on its bottom line.

BHP reported an underlying attributable profit from total operations of $10.69 billion, up 77% on the year-earlier period. A Vuma consensus compiled from 14 analyst forecasts had estimated an underlying profit of $9.62 billion.

Underlying profit from continuing operations was up by 57% to $9.72 billion, it said. BHP is combining its petroleum business with Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and prepared its accounts with that unit as a discontinued operation.

Directors declared an interim dividend of $1.50 a share, up from $1.01 a share a year ago.

The miner also set a new net debt target-which guides its decisions on how to spend earnings-at $5 billion-$15 billion from $12 billion-$17 billion previously. BHP reported net debt of $6.09 billion at Dec. 31.

"We mitigated the impacts of Covid-19 and significant adverse weather events to turn in a solid operational performance, particularly from our flagship Western Australian Iron Ore business," Chief Executive Mike Henry said in a regulatory filing.

BHP has been benefiting from an upswing in prices for the commodities it produces.

The price of iron ore, which contributes the largest share of its earnings, was 9% higher than the same period a year earlier.

Other commodities experienced even greater gains. BHP sold its thermal coal for triple the price it did in the first half of fiscal 2021, and its steelmaking coal for more than double. The price it received for both its copper and nickel was 30% higher than the year-prior period.

Higher prices offset soft output of several of those commodities. BHP last month said first-half iron-ore output was up 1%, but that steelmaking coal production was 8% lower and copper production 12% lower year-on-year.

 

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 14, 2022 16:52 ET (21:52 GMT)

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