Despite 12% surge in half-year underlying earnings, mining giant failed to impress investors and traders today.
The figure of $4.416 billion in the six months to June 30 compared with $3.941 billion during the same period last year.
Higher prices for aluminium and copper bolstered what chief executive J-S Jacques described as “another strong set of results”.
“Superior shareholder returns”
But even the news of bumper returns to shareholders in the shape of dividends and share buy-backs could not stop a tumble in the stock price, which was down 4.16% in morning trading in London, registering a drop of 174.75p to 4,021.75p.
Baseline earnings per share, in US cents, rose 37% to 251.6 cents from 184 cents last time, and the dividend per share rose 15% to 127 cents from 110 cents during the same period last year.
“In addition, in 2018 we have announced $5 billion of divestments. The board has approved that these disposal proceeds, net of tax, will be returned to our shareholders, with the precise timing and form to be determined.”
The interim dividend announced today “represents 50% of underlying earnings”, said Rio Tinto, adding that the additional share buy-backs announced today would be completed by the end of February next year.