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Earnings season wrap-up: 20 February

Nicholas Grove/Christine St Anne  |  20 Feb 2013Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  

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Nicholas Grove is a Morningstar journalist and Christine St Anne is Morningstar's online editor.


Companies covered in this report:

• BHP Billiton (BHP)
• Woodside (WPL)
• Toll Group (TOL)
• Aurizon (AZJ)
• Suncorp (SUN)
• Fortescue Metals Group (FMG)


BHP unveils 43pc fall in profit, new boss

BHP Billiton (BHP) on Wednesday reported a 43.4 per cent fall in net profit before one-off items to US$5.68 billion for the half year ended 31 December 2012.

The group said its underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margin was 32 per cent, supported by a US$1.9-billion reduction in costs.

BHP said substantially lower commodity prices, a weak US dollar, and inflation more than offset the positive contribution from stronger volumes and operating cost savings.

Revenue for the first half fell 14 per cent to US$32.2 billion. The global miner announced an interim dividend of 57 US cents a share, up 3.6 per cent from the same period a year ago.

The result was below Morningstar's forecasts but close to market consensus, according to Morningstar associate head of basic materials Mark Taylor.

"The performance of the coking coal and copper divisions was below our expectations," he said.

In the base metals division, underlying EBIT increased 19 per cent to $1.97 billion. However, underlying EBIT for its metallurgical coal unit fell 107 per cent.

In the iron ore division, BHP said EBIT fell 39 per cent over the prior corresponding period to US$4.8 billion.

Underlying EBIT from aluminium and nickel products fell 331 per cent, while the petroleum division reported a 22.9 per cent fall in underlying EBIT to US$3.2 billion.

Elsewhere, underlying EBIT from diamonds and specialty products fell 237 per cent.