* Fortescue pays $1 final dividend
* Share prices up more than 70% this year
* Net profit jumped 49% to $4.74 bln from $3.19 bln (Adds analyst comment, detail, share price movement)
MELBOURNE, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Fortescue Metals Group reported on Monday record profit for the full year ending in June and quadrupled its final dividend following record iron ore shipments and a surge in ore prices in 2020.
The surging prices and shipments fuelled a 70% surge in Fortescue’s shares this year. The increased dividend payout should mean a windfall of more than A$1 billion ($803.26 million) for the company’s biggest shareholder, Chairman Andrew Forrest.
Booming iron ore prices have burnished the balance sheets of the world’s big iron ore miners and buttressed the Australian economy amid its first recession in a generation. Prices gained after China, the world’s biggest iron ore user, ramped up infrastructure spending to beat a coronavirus induced economic slump.
“It was a great result. Very straight forward, very clean results, all the guidance was as provided,” said analyst Glyn Lawcock of UBS in Sydney. “Now it will just depend on what iron ore prices do over the next 12 months.”
Iron ore prices SH-CCN-IRNOR62 were at $126.50 a tonne, up 36% this year.
The world’s fourth-biggest iron ore miner said net profit for the fiscal year of 2020 was $4.74 billion, up 49% from $3.19 billion a year ago. Analysts on average were expecting profit of $4.77 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
Shares rose 3.3% at A$18.59 in an otherwise flat Australian sharemarket.
The company declared a final dividend of A$1 per share, up from A$0.24 paid last year.
With the final payout, total dividends for the year stood at A$1.76 per share, up 54% on the year, representing 77% of the company’s full-year profit after tax - at the upper end of its payout policy of up to 80%.
In 2019, Andrew Forrest was Australia’s seventh richest person, according to Forbes, with $4.6 billion, thanks largely to his 36% stake in Fortescue.
$1 = 1.3943 Australian dollars Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru and Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Additional reporting by Anushka Trivedi; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger
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