Major rise in profits for BHP Billiton

<p>The world’s largest mining firm has announced positive results.</p>

The share price of the world's largest mining company has risen this morning (February 18th) after it announced a large rise in its profits in its latest financial results.

BHP Billiton revealed that its iron ore, coal and petroleum businesses helped it to record a 31 per cent rise in its profits for the half-year period.

The Melbourne-based company announced that it has also increased its annual payment to shareholders by 3.5 per cent, while in its statement the firm also signalled this figure may rise further this year.

"In the developed world, Europe experienced a period of relative stability while the United States economy accelerated, with continued improvement in private sector balance sheets a key supporting factor. The balance of risk to global growth is skewed to the upside, particularly given the broad based alignment of macroeconomic indicators in the major developed economies," BHP said in a statement.

Iron and coal

Iron ore was a key part of the success for BHP Billiton in the half-year period, with a 60 per cent increase in this part of the business. BHP announced that it saw production from its Western Australian mines reach a new record of 108 million tonnes.

Coal operations were also a strong part of the company over the half-year, with the firm noting in a statement: "Strong operating performance across BHP Billiton's diversified portfolio in the December 2013 half year delivered a ten per cent increase in production, with records achieved across three commodities and ten operations."

In its forecast for the coming months, BHP revealed that it believes the global economy will recover further over the rest of this year, providing a boost to the mining industry as a whole.

Shares in BHP Billiton rose by 0.5 per cent by 08:30 GMT and were continuing to increase as the morning session caught pace. Stocks were trading at 1,921.00, but they have been as high as 1,953.5 already today.

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