Australian resources company BHP Billiton has announced a set of record-setting operational and financial results for the financial year to June 30.
Attributable profit (after exceptional items) was up 77.7% to US$3.4 billion.

Record production volumes were achieved at several of the company’s businesses as seven new projects came on stream and other projects ramped up to full production.

Total turnover rose by 42.5% to US$24,943 million, while sales of group product increased by 29.4% to US$18,283 million, mainly due to higher prices for copper, nickel, petroleum products, aluminium, export energy coal, ferrochrome and iron ore, together with increased sales volumes for our major minerals commodities, natural gas and LPG. This was partly offset by lower volumes for petroleum liquids and titanium products. Sales of third party products increased by US$3,278 million to US$6,660 million.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, excluding exceptional items, increased by 40% to US$7,506 million from US$5,363 million in the corresponding period.

Earnings before interest and tax excluding exceptional items were US$5,488 million compared with US$3,481 million in the corresponding period, an increase of 57.7%. This increase was due to higher commodity prices, net benefits from portfolio management activities, higher sales volumes, cost savings and efficiency gains.

The board has declared a final dividend of 9.5 US cents per share, an increase of 26.7% over last year’s final dividend. This brings the total dividends for the 2004 financial year to 26 US cents per share. The board has also approved plans to pursue additional capital management initiatives with a target amount of up to US$2 billion.

In a statement, BHP said: “This record result is reflective of strong market conditions and the successful execution of our business strategy.
Since the creation of BHP Billiton, we have consistently focused on maximising the operating performance of our world-class assets and reducing costs and improving the efficiencies of our businesses.

“We have utilised the growing cash flows generated from these businesses to invest in value accretive organic growth projects which have enabled us to benefit from the market conditions we are now experiencing.”