SYDNEY Feb 21 Mining giant BHP Billiton
rewarded shareholders with a bigger than
expected dividend on Tuesday, signalling its growing confidence
amid a resurgence in commodity prices.
The world's biggest miner reported a near eight-fold rise in
underlying first-half net profit to $3.24 billion from $412
million a year earlier, just missing market forecasts for $3.4
billion. It declared a first-half dividend of 40 cents, up from
16 cents a year ago.
"This is a strong result that follows several years of a
considered and deliberate approach to improve productivity and
redesign our portfolio and operating model," Chief Executive
Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin)