Mining Giant BHP Posts 62% Profit Decline

Australia's BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, said fiscal 2009 profit fell 62% to $5.88 billion.
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Updated from 2:46 a.m. EDT

MELBOURNE, Australia (


) -

BHP Billiton

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, the world's largest mining company, said profit for the year ended June 30 fell 62% to $5.88 billion from $15.39 billion a year earlier as revenue fell 16% to $50.2 billion.

The profit decline follows a drop in metal prices and demand amid the global economic downturn.

"Over the past financial year the global economy deteriorated rapidly as a result of a significant decline in consumer demand stemming from the financial crisis," BHP said. "Any assumption of a quick return to historical trend growth may be premature."

The company added that "structural economic problems will take time to correct and may hold back growth over the medium term," BHP said.

BHP said it was raising its full-year dividend by 17% to 82 cents a share.

Net operating cash flow for fiscal 2009 rose 6% to a record $18.86 billion, BHP said in a statement Wednesday.

BHP also said it was forming a Western Australia iron ore production jointventure with rival

Rio Tinto

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-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York


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