BHP Billiton H2 profit drops 15 pct, steps up potash investment
MELBOURNE Aug 20 (Reuters) - Top global miner BHP Billiton missed forecasts with a 15 percent fall in second-half profit on Tuesday, despite slashing costs and raising its output of iron ore, copper, coal and oil in the face of falling commodity prices.
Handing down his first results, new Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie announced a surprise $2.6 billion investment to advance the company's long-awaited Jansen potash project in Canada, extending preparatory work on what would be the world's biggest potash mine out to 2017.
"Continued development of the shafts reflects our confidence in the quality of our 5.3 billion tonne measured resource and the compelling long term fundamentals of the potash industry," Mackenzie said in a statement.
Attributable profit excluding one-offs fell to $6.12 billion for the six months to June from $7.18 billion a year ago. The result was well below analysts' forecasts at $7.16 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
BHP increased its final dividend by 2 cents to 59 cents, just short of analysts' forecasts at 60 cents.