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AUSTRALIA - BRITAIN - MINING

BHP Billiton posts record 15.4-billion dollar profit

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BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company, posted a record 15.39-billion dollar annual net profit, setting an Australian corporate record.

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The world's biggest mining company BHP Billiton Ltd. posted a record 15.39-billion-US-dollar annual net profit Monday and said it expected Asian demand to remain strong despite a global slowdown.

Boosted by higher earnings from its petroleum and iron ore divisions, the Anglo-Australian resources giant beat last year's net profit of 13.4 billion dollars by 14.7 percent to set an Australian corporate record.

The firm, which in February embarked on a hostile takeover bid for rival Rio Tinto, said average prices for most of its major commodities were higher in the financial year to June 30, 2008.

"Demand for raw materials in the emerging market economies has remained strong," it said in a statement.

"In particular, China remains a key driver of global commodity consumption through its position as a net importer of raw materials."

The firm said it expected prices to remain high in the short term, but acknowledged there would be more volatility.

"The effects of current weaknesses in the developed economies on demand for our commodities should be minimal driven by ongoing strong demand from the emerging economies," it said.

BHP said that higher oil prices had contributed to the results, along with increased prices for iron ore, copper, lead, silver and gold.

But it said that higher costs, mostly due to higher energy, fuel and shipping expenses, had offset some gains.

 

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