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What You Need To Know About BHP Billiton plc’s Upcoming Results

Mining giant BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) (NYSE: BBL.US) is due to announce its annual results on Tuesday next week (20 August).

At the time of writing, the shares of this FTSE 100 heavyweight are trading at 1,983p – flat over the past 12 months versus a 12% rise for the Footsie.

How will BHP Billiton’s business have performed during 2012/13 compared with last year? Here’s your cut-out-and-check results table!

  FY 2011/12 Forecast
FY 2012/13
Forecast
FY growth
Revenue $72.2bn $67.4bn -6.6%
Earnings per share (EPS)
excl. exceptional items
$3.22 $2.42 -24.8%
Dividend per share Final: $0.57
Total: $1.12
Final: $0.60
Total: $1.17
+4.5%

Revenue and earnings

The big miners of the FTSE 100 have all been struggling for the past year or two. Revenue and earnings have been falling as a result of weak commodity prices and industry-wide cost pressures.

City analysts are forecasting BHP Billiton to announce a 6.6% decline in annual revenue next week. Cost inflation and exchange rates are expected to have weighed on margins and profits, leading to an even steeper decline in EPS. The analysts see EPS falling about 25% — and that follows an 18% drop last year.

Individual analyst estimates vary quite widely around the consensus. The numbers to be looking for in the upcoming results are: revenue of $67.4bn ($65.5bn low; $72.2bn high), and EPS of $2.42 ($2.09 low; $2.88 high).

Dividend

BHP Billiton has “a progressive dividend policy that seeks to steadily increase, or at least maintain the dividend in US dollars at each half-yearly payment”. For this year’s first half the board declared a $0.57 dividend. Analysts are forecasting a $1.17 payout for the full year, so shareholders should be watching for a final dividend of $0.60 next week.

Outlook

BHP Billiton said during February: “The global economy is expected to strengthen over the next 12 months, providing support for commodities demand and pricing”. Analyst forecasts are in tune with that, reflecting expectations of a stronger revenue and EPS performance from the company over the first six months of 2013 compared with the last six months of 2012.

Looking ahead to BHP Billiton’s 2013/14 financial year, the analysts see further modest improvement. They’ve pencilled in EPS of $2.58 and a dividend of $1.24, which, at today’s exchange rates, put the company on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 12 and dividend yield of 4% at the current share price of 1,983p.

The P/E and yield could make BHP Billiton attractive if growth is set to return, so potential investors should be looking to see whether next week’s outlook statement from the company lends support to the improving picture painted by the analyst forecasts.

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> G A Chester does not own any shares mentioned in this article.