Record BHP profit fans mining tax debate

Soyez-assurez les multinationales avec la mondialisation ont aucun problème à faire des milliards de profits.


Extrait de: Record BHP profit fans mining tax debate, Lexi Metherell , ABC News, Feb 16, 2011

BHP Billiton records a record half-year profit of almost $10.6 billion. (ABC News)

À peu près équivalant à nos banques canadiennes

The world's biggest mining company BHP Billiton has recorded its best half-year profit of almost $10.6 billion.

The profit announcement coincides with the release of Treasury documents that show the Federal Government sacrificed $60 billion in forecast revenue when it re-worked its proposed mining tax.

After winning the mining sector's fight with the Government, there was no modesty from BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers as he spruiked the earnings.

"We are very proud of the results. Today we announced record results for the half year," he said.

   BHP records massive profits

BHP Records massive profits

    Vidéo : Au milieu et à droite de l’article

After trying but failing to spend its massive cash reserves on a string of mergers and acquisitions, BHP has money to spare.

Like Rio Tinto it was under pressure to give some of that back to shareholders, so it has expanded its share buyback program and will return $10 billion to investors.

Mr Kloppers is still coy on the buyback details.

    BHP’s profits soars, as mining revenues falls

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"I am probably not at liberty to go deeper into what, how and when," he said.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan says Treasury's forecast revenue figures are not unexpected.

"We said at the time [the new mining tax] would raise less revenue than expected by the former proposal. It does," he said.

But Grattan Institute director economist Saul Eslake, who has followed the evolution of the mining tax, says the numbers are new.

"It raises the question as whether the expenditures to which the Government committed the revenue to be raised by the RSPT (resources super profits tax) in its original form won't now exceed the revenue that will be raised by the modified MRRT (minerals resource rent tax)," he said.

"And thus detract from the Government's commitment to return the budget to surplus and then keep it in surplus at least one percentage point of GDP going forward."

Opposition resources spokesman Ian Macfarlane says the figures highlight how poorly thought through the mining tax has been.

"If the people who own the asset - that is the minerals in the pan, which are the people in each particular state, the citizens of that state - feel as though they are owed more money by the mining companies for its extraction, then the state governments should increase royalties," he said.

For BHP though, it is likely its bottom line will keep getting bigger.

"Over the next year or two, what I would call the medium term, you clearly have an impact on supplies coming on as a result of basically an industry withdrawal of capital during the financial crisis," Mr Kloppers said.

"We did not stop our investments during that. We kept on investing throughout the cycle.

"But for the industry as a whole, in the next year or two in things like iron ore and copper, there's really just not that many big projects coming up."

BHP Billiton has increased its interim dividend by 10 per cent to just above 46 cents, fully franked.