BHP Billiton boasts record profit

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, reported attributable profit up 35 percent to $13,7billion (R100,39billion) thanks to record annual production for eight major products, while prices were at three-decade highs.

"In 2007, real prices for all our major commodities remained at or near their highest levels since the 1970s as Chinese demand for raw materials continued," the company said.

Marius Kloppers, who takes over from Chip Goodyear as chief executive in October, said BHP would continue to invest in copper, iron ore, coking coal and petroleum among other products.

The company had 33 projects in either execution or feasibility and had further medium-term options with capital expenditure requirements of more than $50billion.

BHP would also look at acquisitions, but Kloppers declined to comment on whether the miner had held talks with aluminium giant Alcoa in the wake of Rio Tinto's takeover of Alcan.

"Provided we can get those opportunities that are upstream, low-cost, long-life and will be so in the future, we are going to take a very good look and we will be as aggressive as we have been in the past," Kloppers said.

BHP, which has earmarked more than $20billion for new projects, said near-term commodity prices were expected to remain high, if more volatile, and forecast big volume growth in petroleum, base metals, iron ore and stainless steel.- With Reuters