BHP sees profits jump, declares dividend bonanza

BHP Group on Tuesday (February 16) posted its best first-half profit in seven years.

The world's biggest listed mining firm also declared a record interim dividend.

Underlying profit for the six months to the end of December jumped to just over $6 billion.

That's up from about $5.2 billion last year.

The gains come on strong demand for iron ore from China.

And BHP says it expects that trend to continue in 2021, with global demand also recovering.

Later in the week the same factors are expected to see strong numbers from rivals Rio Tinto and Fortescue.

For BHP though, coal is the one question mark.

Sales have taken a hit due to a trade spat between Australia and China, and the miner says it doesn't expect any quick resolution of that problem.

For all the gains, the firm's earnings numbers actually missed analyst forecasts, but still cheered investors.

BHP's Australia-listed shares rose 2.7% in Tuesday trade.