MELBOURNE, March 24 (Reuters) - Fortescue Metals Group Ltd , the world's No.4 iron ore miner, will pay down $1 billion in a term loan on March 30, it said on Friday, as it looks to continue its cost-cutting drive.
The repayment will save it about $38 million in interest costs and reduce its debt burden to $3.6 billion, with about a quarter of that due in 2019.
The rapid reduction in debt paves the way for the company to step up payouts to shareholders, with analysts forecasting a dividend of 37 cents a share for the year to June 2017, more than double last year's level, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"We will continue to prioritise free cash flow for debt reduction, investment in our core iron ore business and returns to shareholders," Chief Executive Officer Nev Power said in a statement.
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Lisa Shumaker