BHP - The world's largest miner has recorded a 62 per cent fall in profit compared to last year due to write-downs and lower metal prices.
BHP Billiton's underlying profit (excluding one-off items) came in at $US10.722 billion, which is 30 per cent down on last financial year.
Gavin Wendt, a resources analyst from Fat Prophets, says the underlying result is around the higher end of market forecasts.
"It probably even exceeded expectations to a small degree, I mean we were expecting a significant drop in earnings and that's what we got," he said.
However, the write-downs were bigger than some analysts predicted.
The company's closure of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine, its aborted bid for Rio Tinto, the sale of its Yabulu nickel refinery and a few other one-off items cost the company $US4.845 billion (after tax) to pull its actual profit down to $US5.877 billion.
The Ravensthorpe closure was the biggest of these costs, setting the company back more than $US3.6 billion, or about $US2.5 billion after tax write-offs.
The company's revenue was down almost 16 per cent overall, with stainless steel materials (-54 per cent), base metals (-52 per cent) and aluminium (-28 per cent) recording the biggest falls.
Stainless steel was the only company division that recorded negative underlying earnings (a loss).
Metallurgical coal (105 per cent) and iron ore (6.3 per cent) made the only positive contributions to revenue growth.
The company says it is optimistic about the long-term outlook for commodity prices.
"With reduced capital investment over the past year, supply may struggle to keep pace with demand in the medium term when growth recovers," the company said in its report.
However, its chief executive, Marius Kloppers, says he expects the economic recovery to be slow.
"We believe that the level of underlying demand will continue to be obscured by movements in invetories until next year," he said.
"It is our view that the global economy is likely to emerge from this recession less rapidly than in previous cycles."
Despite the fall in revenue and profit, and the sombre outlook, BHP Billiton has maintained its progressive dividend policy and will issue a fully-franked final payment of 41 US cents per share to bring its annual dividend up to 82 US cents.