BHP announced positive results for the half year ended 31 December 2019, including an attributable profit of US$4.9 billion, an increase of 29 per cent from the prior-year period. The company also announced an interim dividend for shareholders of 65 U.S. cents per share, reflecting the solid cash flow generated in the period.  

Net operating cash flow of US$7.4 billion and free cash flow of US$3.7 billion reflects strong iron ore prices and a solid operating performance during the period. This includes an unfavourable working capital movement of US$0.6 billion, largely as a result of inventory builds, price-related impacts and payment of a royalty settlement with the Western Australian Government.

“We delivered a strong set of half-year results, grounded in solid operational performance. Underlying EBITDA was up 15 per cent, to US$12 billion, and return on capital employed increased to 19 per cent. With solid cash flow, the Board announced an interim dividend of 65 U.S. cents per share, our second highest on record,” said BHP Chief Executive Officer Mike Henry. “BHP is in good shape. We have passionate and committed people hungry to perform. We have brought together high quality assets in a simple portfolio that allows us to create value at scale. Our balance sheet is strong and we have embedded a Capital Allocation Framework, which drives discipline and better decisions.”

Mr Henry continued, “From these strong foundations, we will build on our momentum to deliver exceptional performance. I intend for BHP to be unquestionably the industry’s best operator – safer, lower cost, more reliable and more productive – with our portfolio and capabilities fit for the future. We will be open to new ideas, more connected to those around us and more commercial in our thought and actions.

“Despite near term uncertainty – due to the coronavirus outbreak, trade policy and geopolitics – we remain convinced about the positive underlying fundamentals of our commodities. We see enormous potential to reliably deliver exceptional financial and operational performance, and to grow value and returns,” Mr Henry concluded.