BHP (ASX: BHP) has reported its full-year results for FY20. We take a look at the company’s headline figures, key commentary and guidance outlook, plus review the share market’s reaction across the trading day.
BHP has reported a 5% fall in total revenue to US$42.9 billion, with revenue from continuing operations easing by 3%.
The impact of the lower revenue flowed through to the company’s bottom line, with net profit after tax from continuing operations slumping 8% to US$8 billion.
Management has declared a final dividend of US$0.55 per share, fully-franked. The stock will trade ex-dividend on Thursday, September 3rd, 2020.
Shares in BHP traded without any clear conviction throughout the day, ultimately settling lower by 0.5% to $39.65 as the company’s dividend cut fell flat with the market.
Underlying attributable profit of US$9.1 billion was broadly in line with the result from FY19. Profit from operations totalled US$14.4 billion, while underlying EBITDA came in at US$22.1 billion, with margins sitting at 53%.
The impact of favourable forex movements, improved operating stability and greater productivity helped the company reduce its unit costs by 9%, which in turn supported cash flow. Net operating cash flow (US$15.7 billion) was above US$15 billion for the fourth consecutive year, with free cash flow of US$8.1 billion.
Exploration activity and capex investment remains a focus for the company, with capital and exploration expenditure falling within guidance at US$7.6 billion, albeit some spend towards various petroleum projects has been deferred. Nonetheless, major projects at Atlantis Phase 3, Spence Growth and South Flank continue to be furthered from a development perspective, while some copper, nickel and petroleum projects have been pushed along in terms of exploration.
Net debt has increased from US$9.4 billion at the end of FY19 to US$12 billion at the end of FY20. This includes adjustments ensuing from changes to the accounting framework regarding IFRS 16 Leases. Still, the level of net debt sits at the bottom end of the company’s target range, which is US$12-17 billion.
With underlying return on capital employed sitting at 17%, BHP is now looking to “enhance” its project portfolio for value, risk and returns. Management has identified the company’s coal division as an area that will be subject to further optimisation, including a concentration on higher-quality coking coals, and the divestment of other projects such as BMC, New South Wales Energy Coal and Cerrejon.
BHP continues to deliver an improved Total Recordable Injury Frequency and had no fatalities at its operated sites in FY20.
The final dividend of US$0.55 per share represents an extra US$0.17 per share above the company’s 50% minimum payout policy, while US$1.20 per share in total dividends across FY20 represents a 67% payout ratio.
BHP has put forward a base case for a solid global economic rebound in calendar 2021, albeit with output still lagging where the world economy would have been by as much as 6%. China is expected to defy the trend, with management anticipating economic growth will not contract across 2020, unlike the rest of the world, however, pre-COVID growth trends in China are not expected to return til 2023.
The company believes that primary demand shock associated with COVID-19 is now behind it, but various risks remain. Steel production is expected to decline across calendar 2020, but with a near-equivalent rebound next year. Lower demand from iron ore from China has also been signalled for the second half of this year, which alongside a recovery in the supply of Brazilian iron ore, leads BHP to believe that prices for the commodity will ease. Coal, copper, nickel and crude oil have all been the subject of volatility, with some stability forecast to be seen over a longer period of time.
Petroleum production guidance for FY21 is 6-13% below the results of this year, at 95-102MMboe. Copper production is forecast to drop 5-14% to between 1,480 and 1,645kt. The mid-point estimate for iron ore production is seen flat. Capital and exploration expenditure from BHP is forecast to be approximately US$7 billion for FY21 and approximately US$8.5 billion in FY22. For the coming financial year, unit costs across petroleum, iron ore and coal are predicted to increase by as much as low double-digit growth.
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