Rio Tinto sales tumble as tough commodities market continues

 
Caitlin Morrison
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MINING giant Rio Tinto’s profits were slashed in the six months to 30 June, as earnings from iron ore plunged by 49 per cent despite production growing by 12 per cent.

Profit before tax in the first half was $1.75bn (£1.13bn), compared with £6.1bn recorded in the same period of last year.

Revenue was also down, from $24bn to $18bn.

Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh said: “This is a robust set of results, given the tough operating environment. I should like to thank all of my colleagues for their exceptional efforts in achieving these results.”

Walsh said “early and decisive actions” taken by the group in 2013, when it reduced debt and increased capital strength, had given the business at strong base.

He added that the firm was continuing to “invest in growth”, and said it is “well placed to succeed in these volatile times”.

Charles Gibson, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said investors would be encouraged by the increased cost saving targets and the higher dividend, up 12 per cent, announced yesterday.

Rio Tinto shares rose by 0.31 per cent to close at 2,575.50p.