Rio Tinto has announced returns to shareholders of US$3.5B including interim dividend of US$2.5B and special dividend of US$1B.
Delivering Rio Tinto’s half-year results, CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques said “We have delivered strong financial results with underlying EBITDA of US$10.3B and EBITDA margin of 47%. Our financial performance was driven by our Pilbara operations with a 72% EBITDA margin, underpinned by strong iron ore prices.
“We are taking actions to protect the Pilbara Blend and optimise performance across our iron ore system, following the operational challenges which emerged in the first half.
“Our world-class portfolio and strong balance sheet serve us well in all market conditions. This, together with our disciplined capital allocation, underpins our ability to continue to invest in our business and deliver superior returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term. Our delivery is in evidence today, with our record interim returns of US$3.5B.”
The mining giant reported consolidated sales revenue of US$20.7B, 9% higher than H1 2018, excluding the US$0.8B contribution from coking coal assets divested in 2018. Higher iron ore prices offset the impact of lower volumes and lower aluminium prices, according to Rio Tinto.
Underlying EBITDA of US$10.3B was 19% higher than H1 2018, excluding the US$0.6B contribution from coking coal. This increase reflected higher iron ore prices, which Rio said more than compensated for lower volumes and higher costs.
The effective tax rate on underlying earnings was 31%, three percentage points higher than in H1 2018, primarily reflecting increased profits in Australia.