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Rio Tinto’s strong results

Rio Tinto’s strong results

(Posted on 28/02/20)

Rio Tinto has announced full-year ordinary dividend of $6.2 billion (382 US cents per share), including record final ordinary dividend of $3.7 billion (231 US cents per share), resulting in total cash returns of $7.2 billion (443 US cents per share)

Rio Tinto Chief Executive J-S Jacques said “We have again delivered strong financial results with underlying EBITDA of $21.2 billion, underlying EBITDA margin of 47% and return on capital employed of 24%. This performance allows us to return a record final ordinary dividend of $3.7 billion, resulting in a full-year ordinary dividend of $6.2 billion and total cash returns of $7.2 billion.

“In line with our disciplined approach to capital allocation, we invested $2.6 billion in development projects, including high-return iron ore and copper. Longer term, our $624 million exploration and evaluation expenditure in 2019 adds to our pipeline of attractive options.

"Our world-class portfolio and strong balance sheet serve us well in all market conditions, and are particularly valuable in the current volatile environment. We are closely monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 virus and are prepared for some short-term impacts, such as supply-chain issues. Our products are currently reaching our customers.

"Our resilience and value over volume strategy mean we can invest in our business and deliver superior returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term."

“Our financial results are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

  • Strong safety performance in 2019, with no fatalities and a slightly improved all injury frequency rate, coming from a strong base. Continued improvement in prevention of catastrophic events through a step-change in process safety management.
  • $14.9 billion operating cash flow was 26% higher than 2018 and $9.2 billion free cash flow2 was 31% higher than 2018. Both are presented after $0.9 billion tax paid in 2019 relating to the 2018 coking coal disposals.
  • $5.5 billion capital expenditure1 was consistent with 2018. In late 2019, we announced the approval of two further investments, at Greater Tom Price (iron ore, $0.8 billion) and Kennecott (copper, $1.5 billion).
  • $21.2 billion underlying EBITDA3 was 17% above 2018, primarily driven by higher iron ore prices, with an underlying EBITDA margin7 of 47%.
  • $10.4 billion underlying earnings were 18% above 2018. Taking exclusions into account, net earnings of $8.0 billion were 41% lower than 2018, mainly reflecting $1.7 billion8 of impairments in 2019, primarily the Oyu Tolgoi underground project, consistent with our 2019 interim results, and the Yarwun alumina refinery. This compared with $4.0 billion of gains on disposals in 2018.
  • Strong balance sheet with net debt4 of $3.7 billion, a rise of $3.9 billion, mainly reflected $11.9 billion of cash returns to shareholders in 2019 through dividends and share buy-backs, and a $1.2 billion non-cash increase from the implementation of IFRS 16 "Leases", partly offset by free cash flow of $9.2 billion.
  • $7.2 billion full-year dividend, equivalent to 443 US cents per share and 70% of underlying earnings, includes $3.7 billion record final ordinary dividend (231 US cents per share) declared.”

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