MELBOURNE Feb 13 Global miner Rio Tinto
reported a 45 percent jump in second-half profit
on Thursday, beating market forecasts thanks to sharp
cost-cutting, lower capital spending and production growth.
The world no.2 miner surprised the market with a 15 percent
increase in its annual dividend in a show of confidence in its
cashflow growth, which may herald a big capital return to
shareholders later this year or in 2015.
"The 15 percent increase in our dividend reflects our
confidence in the business and its attractive prospects," Chief
Executive Sam Walsh, who took the reins a year ago, said in a
Underlying earnings for the six months to Dec. 31 rose to
$5.99 billion from $4.12 billion a year earlier, based on
Reuters calculations off the full-year result, and compared with
analysts' forecasts of around $5.49 billion.
Rio's Australian shares have fallen 3.7 percent over the
past year, underperforming a 6 percent rise in the broader
market, as investors shunned miners on fears of cooling
growth in China and an expected slump in iron ore prices.
However the stock touched an 11-month high on Thursday ahead of