BHP won't let downturn damage its view
The chairman of BHP Billiton says the company remains “robust and resilient”, despite taking a battering in recent months.
BHP chairman Jac Nasser has told the company's annual general meeting (AGM) in London that while resource shares are under pressure around the world, the company is doing well enough.
Recurring safety issues were on the agenda too.
Falling commodity prices have reduced BHP’s earnings by over $US15 billion, but the management team says it has still delivered solid operational results.
In fact, the company says it will move to increase its dividend in line with its progressive dividend policy, based on a strong standing balance sheet, Nasser said.
The boss was called to answer for the five company employees that died at work in the 2015 financial year.
Mr Nasser said BHP Billiton puts health and safety first.
“This is unacceptable, and on behalf of the board I extend my deepest sympathy,” he said.
Asked about the company’s role in climate change, Mr Nasser said BHP believed it had an important role to play in limiting the global temperature increases to below two degrees Celsius, and will look into more carbon reduction and renewable energy projects.
BHP reported its underlying attributable profit was 52 per cent lower this financial year, and is now at $US6.4 billion.
Records were set in iron ore, coal and petroleum production, and there was strong performance in copper.
But these positive outcomes were offset by an unplanned mill outage at Olympic Dam in South Australia.
In the 2015 financial year, BHP says it has delivered productivity gains of $US4.1 billion, a full two years ahead of target.
Annual capital and exploration costs are down by 24 per cent to $US11 billion in the 2015 financial year, and are on track to reduce further to $US8.5 billion.
Shareholders were told that in 2015, BHP Billiton produced an attributable profit of $US1.9 billion, while net operating cash flows were ate $US19.3 billion.
The full-year dividend has increased by two per cent to $US1.24 per share.