- Mining company BHP has reported a decline in attributable profit and profit from operations for the year due to the challenges of COVID-19, unrest in Chile and commodity price volatility but announced a final dividend of 55 cents per share.

For the year ended 30 June 2020, the company reported attributable profit of $8bn was 4% lower than $8.3bn in 2019, while underlying attributable profit of $9.1bn was also down 4%.

Profit from operations fell 11% to $14.4bn, down from $16.1bn the previous year and underlying EBITDA declined 5% to $22.1bn at a margin of 53%, with unit costs reduced by 9% at its major assets due to foreign exchange, better productivity and improved operating stability.

Net debt ended the year at $12bn, compared to $9.4bn at 30 June 2019, which BHP said was at the low end of its target range of $12bn to $17bn.

BHP said the board has determined to pay a final dividend of 55 US cents per share or $2.8bn.

The company reported that the total impact from COVID-19 on its operations was $348m, including lower volumes at its operated assets of $112m, temporary shutdowns at non-operated equity accounted investments (Antamina and Cerrejon) of $53m and additional costs incurred at its operated assets such as temporary relocation costs, screening and hygiene of $183m.

BHP reported that it continued to advance exploration programs in petroleum, copper and nickel, and that it intends to concentrate its coal portfolio on higher-quality coking coals.

Chief executive Mike Henry said: 'We expect most major economies will contract heavily in 2020, China being the exception. Recovery will vary considerably by country.

'Our diversified portfolio and high-quality assets position us to continue to generate returns in the face of near-term uncertainty, even as we secure and create the options in future-facing commodities that will allow us to sustainably grow value in the long-term.'

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