BHP Billiton posts $8.1 billion half year profit

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The world's biggest miner BHP Billiton has reported a better-than-expected half year profit of $8.1 billion, helped by cost cutting.

BHP's shareholders could participate in a company share buyback in six months. Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie on Tuesday said net debt should be down to $25 billion within months, a level he has previously said could trigger a capital return.

BHP's profit for the July-December half year increased 83 percent to $8.1 billion from $4.4 billion a year earlier.

Stripping out a one-time $346 million gain from selling a U.S. copper mine, profit was a higher than forecast $7.8 billion.