BHP Billiton Limited
) reported impressive financial results for first-half fiscal
2014, ended Dec 31, 2013. Earnings per American Depositary Share
(ADS) came in at $1.52, up 83.0% from 83 cents per ADS a year
ago. Higher revenues and cost management were the main reasons
behind the hike.
Revenues for the first half of fiscal 2014 went up 5.9% year over
year to $33.9 billion from $32.1 billion as a result of increased
volumes of production.
BHP Billiton reported improved year-over-year operating
performance. The company witnessed a rise in production of
copper, iron ore, metallurgical coal, alumina, aluminium,
manganese alloy and nickel. However, production of petroleum
products and energy coal declined.
The company's Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) operations
attained a record production of 108 million tonnes in the
reported half year. The high production was supported by an early
start to production from Jimblebar mine.
: Underlying earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were
recorded at $12.4 billion, up 14.9% year over year, as a result
of better cost management initiatives undertaken by the
Cash and cash equivalents, at the end of the period, were
recorded at $10.9 billion, up from $5.7 billion in the year ended
Jun 30, 2013. Interest-bearing liabilities were $31.7 billion, up
from $28.1 billion as on Jun 30, 2013.
Net operating cash flow increased 65.3% year over year to $11.9
billion. Capital and exploration expenditure totaled $9.1 billion
for the first half of fiscal 2014, compared with $12.3 billion in
the year-ago comparable period.
In the reported period, the company paid dividends totaling
$3.2 billion, compared with $3.1 billion paid in the first half
of fiscal 2013. BHP Billiton also approved an interim dividend of
59 cents a share to be paid to the shareholders on Mar 26.
As of first-half fiscal 2014-end, BHP had roughly 10 projects in
progress, most of which are expected to start production by the
end of calendar 2014. The company expects the economy to continue
to revive in the coming quarters, mainly in China, thereby,
boosting demand and prices of iron ore.
In fiscal 2014, BHP Billiton anticipates capital and
exploration expenditure to be roughly $16.1 billion. Free cash
flow is expected to increase, which can be used to reduce debt
from $27.1 billion to $25.0 billion.
Other Stocks to Consider
With a market capitalization of $181.8 billion, BHP Billiton
currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks
that are worth a look in the industry include
Stillwater Mining Co.
Augusta Resource Corp.
Rio Tinto plc
). While Stillwater Mining sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy),
Augusta Resource and Rio Tinto hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
AUGUSTA RSRC CP (AZC): Get Free Report
BHP BILLITN LTD (BHP): Free Stock Analysis
RIO TINTO-ADR (RIO): Free Stock Analysis
STILLWATER MNG (SWC): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.