BHP Earnings Soar 28.4 Percent

From Staff Reports

The Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE:BHP), the world’s largest mining company, reported its fiscal 2007 net profit was $13.42 billion, a 28.4% gain from the $10.45 billion it posted last year

Higher commodity prices and the emerging economies in Europe and Asia added $7.1 billion to the bottom line, as did the record amounts of natural gas, aluminum, copper, nickel, iron ore and more that BHP mined, the mining company said yesterday (Wednesday).

However, rising operational costs and fluctuations in the exchange rates trimmed $1.5 billion from the figure, MarketWatch reported.

Meanwhile, its competitor Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE:RTP) announced it has raised $40 billion to front a loan to buy Canada’s Alcan Inc.(NYSE: AL).

Rio Tinto spokesman Nick Cobban declined to say how much was raised, Rueters reported. The company will announce the full figures of the transaction next week when the documents are signed. 

Data provider Dealogic reported that the loan is the biggest raised by a U.K.-listed company and the fourth-biggest globally.

The news injected a much-needed sense of security in the market, which has been hampered by banks’ unwillingness to loan such large amounts in the current credit storm. The confidence spilled back into Rio Tinto, whose stock shot up 14.87 points, or 6.1%, to close at $259.40 yesterday (Wednesday).