Top global miner BHP Billiton slashed its interim dividend by 75 percent, the first reduction since 1988, amid a rout in commodity markets that has sent prices of oil, iron ore, coal and other raw materials tumbling.
The world's biggest diversified miner reported a net loss of $5.67 billion for the first half of the 2016 financial year, its first loss in more than 16 years, and cut its interim dividend to 16 cents. Analysts had expected a dividend of 31 cents.
BHP ditched its progressive dividend policy, which held that it would pay a steady or higher dividend at each half-year result, to protect its solid 'A' credit rating, the highest in the decimated mining sector.
"Finally they've admitted that perhaps this slump in commodities is going last for a little bit longer than short-term," Robert Brierley, head of research at Patersons Securities in Perth, told CNBC's The Rundown.
BHP will also cut capital and exploration expenditure down to US$5 billion in FY17 from US$7 billion in FY16.