What is behind BHP Billiton’s 25% H1 2018 profit rise?
Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced its best half year profits since 2014, registering an underlying attributable profit of US$4bn for the six months ending December 2017.
It was good news for shareholders, who received a dividend payout of US$0.55 per share, higher than analysts had previously forecast.
But why did the company enjoy a successful start to the 2018 financial year?
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Strong growth in copper and petroleum production are key drivers. In H1, BHP produced 99 million barrels of oil equivalent, up 7% from H1 of 2017.
BHP saw an even greater rise in copper production during the period – the 833 kilotons represents a 17% increase versus the same period in the last financial year. This helped to offset a flatlining iron ore business, which remained at around 177 megatons for H1 2018.
Andrew Mackenzie, BHP’s CEO, said in a statement: “Higher commodity prices and a solid operating performance delivered free cash flow of US$4.9bn. We used this cash to further reduce net debt and increase returns to shareholders through higher dividends.
“We are on track to deliver further productivity gains of US$2bn by the end of the 2019 financial year as we secure improvements in both operating and capital productivity, aided by smarter technology application across our value chain.
“Our capital expenditure programme remains focused on high-return, low-risk development opportunities in commodities where we see greatest potential. We remain firm in our resolve to maximise cash flow, maintain discipline and increase shareholder value and returns.”
These promising financial figures arise shortly after BHP completed a $350mn upgrade of its Olympic Dam smelter.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.