Australian mining giant BHP Billiton has announced a record near $6 billion ($US4.4 billion) profit for the December 2005 half, up 48 per cent on the previous December half.Record half year production of aluminium, copper, nickel and LNG saw a near 20 per cent jump in overall revenue to $24.6 billion ($US18.2 billion) and earnings before tax up 43 per cent to $9.1 billion ($US6.7 billion).The company has declared an interim dividend of 23.65c (US17.5c) a share, an increase of 30 per cent on the prior period interim dividend.BHP Billiton said five major growth projects had been approved in the period, with 25 projects in execution or in feasibility, worth $19.5 billion ($US14.4 billion) in investments.The integration of WMC Resources Ltd had been completed ahead of schedule, with results exceeding expectations.At the time of the acquisition announcement, BHP Billiton estimated annual cost efficiencies of $115 million. However, on-going pre-tax cost efficiencies of $160 million and $14 million a year in tax benefits were achieved. It was expected that final annualised cost efficiencies would exceed $180 million, plus $14 million a year in tax benefits.The final, one-off cost to achieve these cost efficiencies was estimated at $103 million, compared to the $120 million previously estimated.BHP Billiton also announced a $2.7 billion ($US2 billion) capital management initiative.
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