Global mining giant BHP Billiton posted a more than a five-fold rise in annual underlying profit on Tuesday to $6.7 billion on the back of a recovery in industrial commodities markets, but missed analysts' forecasts.
BHP tripled its final dividend to $0.43 a share, also below expectations, but pleased shareholders with a focus on reducing net debt, which was cut by nearly $10 billion.
"Net debt looks very impressive.. so the cash looks like it was applied to deleveraging versus extra dividends," Shaw and Partners analyst Peter O'Connor said.
Analysts had expected underlying earnings of around $7.4 billion, based on a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Bowing to pressure from some shareholders to consider spinning off its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas business in the United States, BHP said it had deemed the business "non-core" and was "actively pursuing options to exit."