BHP BILLITON’S chief executive Marius Kloppers was paid 51 per cent more this year, the group’s annual report showed yesterday, despite the mining giant’s profits slumping by 62 per cent last year.<br /><br />Kloppers’ remuneration package came in at more than $10m (£6.3m) for the 12 months to June. Last year he received $6.8m.<br /><br />His pay rise comes after commodity prices collapsed worldwide in the downturn, hitting BHP’s profits and operations.<br /><br />Under his rule, the miner had to abandon an attempted takeover bid for its massive rival Rio Tinto because of the poor economic climate, costing BHP around $450m.<br /><br />Kloppers’ basic salary for last year was $2m, up 19 per cent from last year, while his annual bonus dropped to $1.7m. He was awarded $5.8m in share payments, taking his total remuneration package to $10.4m.<br /><br />His pay was so much higher than last year’s because of a long-term incentive plan instigated in 2004, BHP said. It added that last year’s share bonuses would only be awarded if he hit performance targets. <br /><br />Meanwhile, the head of BHP’s oil division came in as the second highest-paid director, as his remuneration package hit $6.3m – a 52 per cent increase on last year.<br /><br />In the report, Kloppers warned that BHP did not expect a return to the same level of demand seen before the downturn in the forseeable future.<br /><br />But Don Argus, the outgoing chairman who will soon be replaced by Jacques Nasser, said he saw evidence in the UK, US, Europe and Australia, of increasing stability in economies and financial systems worldwide.<br /><br />BHP said demand for commodities was also picking up.