SYDNEY, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group said half-year net profit more than tripled to $1.7 billion, in line with market forecasts, as it raced to dig more iron ore.
The world’s fourth-biggest iron ore producer set a guidance target to ship 127 million tonnes in the fiscal year to June 30, 2014, up from 81 million the previous year.
Following in the path of other miners, such as BHP Billiton BLT.L> and Rio Tinto , Fortescue said it was reducing capital spending as construction work on new projects nears an end and concerns mount over cooling industrial growth in China, the main market for Australian iron ore.
Capital expenditure in fiscal 2014 is expected to shrink to $2.1 billion, $4.1 billion below the previous year, it said.
Fortescue is targeting debt repayments of between $4 billion and $5 billion in 2014, before setting up its next stage of growth in iron ore production beyond an annualised rate of 155 million tonnes.