BHP might move first, but Rio Tinto’s buyback likely bigger

Financial Post | Business

Both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group should begin returning excess capital to shareholders during the next year, but BHP will likely move first, says Fraser Jamieson, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Cazenove in London

He thinks BHP could make an announcement during its fiscal 2014 results in August, but he thinks Rio Tinto offers a more compelling capital returns story even though it might wait to make a similar announcement until it reports in February 2015.

Mr. Jamieson estimates the miner could support a US$4.75-billion share buyback program in fiscal 2015, while keeping net debt near its US$15-billion target. That would produce EPS accretion somewhere between 3.8% and 4.1%.

The analyst further noted BHP could support share repurchases of around US$3-billion, implying 1.3% to 1.4% in earnings accretion.

“Both management teams have emphasized they are in listening mode around the preferred mechanism for any returns,” Mr. Jamieson told clients, noting…

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Australia: 2,100-applicants for Blair Athol’s 120 coal mine positions

Peak Jobs News

Via Australian Mining. Something of interest that I missed from last week. 120 jobs snapped up at Blair Athol mine. Excerpt:

Of the 2100 applications received for work at Blair Athol mine, a lucky 120 people have been offered positions at the operation. Emails with offers of employment have been distributed, but a date for when workers will hit the ground is uncertain as the completion of sale is still being finalised.

A subsidiary of Linc Energy, New Emerald Coal, acquired Blair Athol mine from Rio Tinto in October. NEC will reopen the mine with a view to produce up to 3 million tonnes of thermal coal per year via what it calls “low-cost, targeted mining operations”. Executive general manager of operations Jason O’Rourke said he hoped to have crews start in April, CQ news reported.

He said the number of applications received was “impressive”, with many coming…

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