SYDNEY, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 16th Augst,2016) : BHP Billiton reported an annual net loss of $6.39 billion on Tuesday, its worst-ever result, as the impact of a fatal mine dam disaster in Brazil and weak commodity prices hit the world's biggest miner. Miners have been battling huge declines in the commodities market, with the outlook uncertain despite a recent improvement in prices. The results for the year to June 30 followed a $1.
91 billion net profit in the previous corresponding period. Underlying earnings, which strip out one-off writedowns, came in at $1.22 billion, slightly above analysts' expectations. "The last 12 months have been challenging for both BHP Billiton and the resources industry," chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement. "Nevertheless, our results demonstrate the resilience of our portfolio and the diverse ways in which we can create value for shareholders despite low commodity prices.
" The Anglo-Australian firm slashed its payout, declaring a final dividend of 14 cents, compared to 62 cents last year. It followed the company's decision in February to dump its progressive dividend policy in which shareholders are given gradually higher payouts. The challenging market outlook saw global ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgrade BHP's rating from A+ to A in February. Mackenzie said despite expectations that commodity prices would "remain low and volatile in the short- to medium-term", he was confident about the long-term outlook, particularly for oil and copper.
At the same time, BHP has been grappling with the aftermath of the Samarco dam rupture in November in which 19 people died. Samarco, which is co-owned by Brazilian mining giant Vale, is facing billions of Dollars in legal claims for clean-up costs and damages. BHP said its losses included a $4.9 billion writedown on the value of some US assets and a $2.2 billion loss relating to the Samarco dam failure. The company's share price closed 0.45 percent higher to Aus$20.25, ahead of the profit announcement.