BHP should resist calls for growth

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) announced better than expected first half earnings this morning, despite prices of its two most lucrative commodities – iron ore and oil – collapsing during the period. Impressively, as a result of continued cost cuts and productivity improvements, net debt was steady while the interim dividend increased by 5% to US$0.62 per share.Echoing Alan Kohler's call in today's Business Spectator for Australian companies to stop increasing dividends, analysts are encouraging BHP to utilise the commodities cycle downturn to pursue growth rather than returning capital to shareholders.I disagree.As colleague Gaurav Sodhi has noted, over the past 25 years –...

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) announced better than expected first half earnings this morning, despite prices of its two most lucrative commodities – iron ore and oil – collapsing during the period. Impressively, as a result of continued cost cuts and productivity improvements, net debt was steady while the interim dividend increased by 5% to US$0.62 per share.

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