Melbourne: Global miner Rio Tinto reported a record second-half profit on Thursday, more than double a year earlier, matching forecasts as its biggest customer, China, snapped up iron ore, coal and copper.
It promised to return $5 billion to shareholders through a share buyback by the end of 2012 and increased its final dividend 20% above its earlier commitment, topping market expectations.
It said that commitment would still allow it to take advantage of future growth opportunities that might arise.
Underlying earnings before one-offs rose to $8.22 billion for the six months to December from $3.73 billion a year earlier, against analysts’ forecasts around $8.29 billion.
Rio Tinto’s shares have jumped 29% over the past year, far outstripping an 8% gain in the broader market as commodity prices have soared.