BHP Billiton, the world's largest miner, reports a surge in underlying full-year profits and confirms it will exit its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas business, pleasing disgruntled shareholders who had called for a sale. Laura Frykberg reports.
The world's largest mining company... Reporting equally sizable profits. BHP Billiton making an underlying $6.7 billion for the full year. It's also pleased investors in another way... Promising to quit its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas business. Its share price up 1.2 percent on the news. (SOUNDBITE) (English): SENIOR MARKET ANALYST AT ETX CAPITAL, NEIL WILSON SAYING: "I think BHP has come under a lot of pressure from investors, especially Elliot, the activist hedgefund, to divest their shale assets. I think it placed a $20 billion bet on that six years ago when oil was up at $100 a barrel. Oil has come down an awful lot since then as we know." The Anglo-Australian mining giant has generated more cash for the year... Than in some years of the mining boom. Cutting net debt by nearly $10 billion.. And tripling its final dividend to 43 cents a share. It's joined a raft of other miners - also boosting payouts to reward shareholders... Including Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals.