BHP Billiton posts surge in annual profits

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BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner that is battling to buy fertiliser giant Potash Corp, said Wednesday that its net profits more than doubled to nearly 13 billion dollars in 2009/2010.

Profit after tax for the 12 months to June of 12.722 billion US dollars (10.062 billion euros) compared with net earnings of 5.877 billion dollars in 2008/09 as commodity prices recovered, the Anglo-Australian miner said.

"BHP Billiton delivered another strong set of results despite significant volatility in the macro economic environment," the group said in an earnings statement.

"Record sales volumes were achieved in three of our major commodities as our focus on efficiency and productivity at all points in the cycle ensured we were well positioned to capitalise on the recovery in demand and prices," it added.

BHP Billiton said that revenue rose by 5.2 percent to 52.798 billion dollars in 2009/10.

The results announcement comes one week after BHP launched a mammoth hostile takeover bid for Canada's Potash Corp which values the world's largest fertiliser producer at 40 billion US dollars.

However Potash on Monday formally rejected the bid as "wholly inadequate" and said it was exploring other offers. A report Wednesday said Chinese energy giant Sinochem Group was "evaluating" the possibility of launching a rival bid.

© 2010 AFP

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