Orica H1 profit slides

Reduced demand weighs on NPAT but group expects improved result for full year.

Orica's (ORI) first-half profit attributable to shareholders has fallen 7.8%, in line with expectations, as the mining services downturn and reduced demand for its chemicals business weigh.

In the six months to March 31, Orica recorded a statutory net profit after tax of $242.1 million, compared to the $262.5m posted in the same period last year.

However the group said it expected net profit after tax before individually material items for the full year to be in line with, or greater than, last year's restated NPAT of $592.5m, due to an expected lift in explosive volumes in the second half of 2014.

Orica said global explosives volumes shrunk by 2 per cent in the six months to March 31 as a result of lowered demand in the international coal and Latin American metals markets.

Earnings before interest and taxation in Orica's chemicals division fell 32% to $39 million in the period.

The group will pay an ordinary dividend of 40 cents per share, franked at 16 cents per share, payable on July 1.

Orica said it was unlikely dividends in the near future would be franked at a rate of more than 50%.