BHP Billiton Limited
) recently reported strong production volumes for fiscal 2014
(ended Jun 30, 2014), increasing 9% year over year, along with
hitting annual records in 4 commodities and 12 operations. While
production of iron ore, copper, petroleum, coal, alumina and
manganese alloys increased, output of manganese ore, nickel and
aluminum declined year over year.
Iron ore and metallurgical coal production increased 20% year
over year to 203.6 million tons and 45.1 million tons,
respectively. Also, copper production increased 2% to 1.7 million
tons. However, nickel and manganese ores production declined 7% and
3% year over year to 0.143 million tons and 8.3 million tons,
The company witnessed a significant production increase in the
Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) facility, primarily led by the
early commissioning of Jimblebar mine. Moreover, metallurgical coal
production exceeded guidance due to record-hitting production and
sales volume in the Queensland Coal mine. The same is expected to
increase 4% to 47 million tons in fiscal 2015.
In fiscal 2014, BHP Billiton completed six major projects along
with two other projects carrying out their first production. The
company's Caval Ridge coal mine, which was completed ahead of
schedule and within budget, achieved its first production in June
this year. Exiting fiscal 2014, BHP Billiton had eight low-risk,
brownfield major projects under development, worth $14.1
In an effort to simplify its portfolio, BHP Billiton has
completed transactions worth over $6.7 billion in the U.K., the
U.S., South Africa, Australia and Canada. The company, in order to
focus on core assets, intends to continue streamlining its
BHP Billiton is expected to release fiscal 2014 earnings on Aug
19. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same is pegged at $5.29
per share, reflecting a year-over-year hike of 19.8%.
With a market capitalization of $195.0 billion, BHP Billiton
holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the
Hi-Crush Partners LP
U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.
Dominion Diamond Corp.
). While Hi-Crush Partners and U.S. Silica Holdings sport a Zacks
Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Dominion Diamond Corp. holds a Zacks Rank #2
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