By David Winning
SYDNEY--Rio Tinto PLC lifted its mid-year dividend payout despite a 20% fall in its net profit, as it balanced high iron-ore prices with an uncertain global economic outlook.
Rio Tinto on Wednesday reported a net profit of $3.32 billion in the six months through June, down from $4.13 billion in the same period a year earlier when it wrote down its investment in the Oyu Tolgoi copper deposit in Mongolia. Management said the on-year decline in statutory profit reflected higher impairment charges, exchange-rate losses and extra closure costs for some assets.
The company said its first-half underlying earnings fell by 4% to $4.75 billion, beating the $4.09 billion forecast from a Wall Street Journal poll of analysts.
Directors of the world's second-biggest mining company by market value declared an interim dividend of $1.55 a share, up from a payout of $1.51 a year ago.
"Despite the challenging backdrop, we generated underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $9.6 billion, with a margin of 47%, driven by our strong and stable operations, with all of our assets continuing to operate throughout the first half," Chief Executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said.
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