Rio Tinto: Record results underline strong earnings and performance

Rio Tinto’s interim results to 30 June 2008, released this morning. They are above the top end of analyst expectations, with underlying earnings of $5.5bn, up 55% on H1 2007. Net earnings have more than doubled to $6.9bn.

  • Record underlying EBITDA* of $11,408 million, 73 per cent above first half 2007.
  • Record underlying earnings* of $5,474 million, 55 per cent above first half 2007.
  • Record net earnings* of $6,914 million, 113 per cent above first half 2007.
  • Cash flow from operations up 54 per cent to a record of $8,860 million – a run rate of approximately $1.5 billion of cash flow per month.
  • Half year production records achieved in iron ore, bauxite, alumina, aluminium, borates, titanium dioxide and thermal coal (on a like for like basis).
  • Record capital expenditure of $3.7 billion, 91 per cent higher than first half 2007, on investments in value adding growth projects.
  • New capital commitments of over $6 billion (100 per cent basis) announced during the year, including substantial expansions of iron ore operations in Australia, Brazil and Canada.
  • Rio Tinto Alcan integration is making good progress, and remains on track to deliver $1.1 billion of after tax synergies from the end of 2009.
  • Interim dividend increased 31 per cent to 68 US cents, with a continued commitment to increase the total 2008 and 2009 dividends by at least 20 per cent in each year.
  • The divestment programme made good progress with $3 billion of sales announced to date.
  • The Group remains on track to announce $10 billion of divestments in 2008.

Six months to 30 June
(All dollars are US$ millions unless otherwise stated)

2008 2007 Change
Underlying EBITDA* 11,408 6,613 +73%
Underlying earnings* 5,474 3,529 +55%
Cash flow from operations(incl. dividends from equity accounted units) 6,914 3,253 +113%
Underlying earnings per share – US cents 426.5 272.6 +56%
Earnings per share – US cents 538.7 251.3 +114%
Ordinary interim dividends per share – US cents 68.0 52.0 +31%

About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto’s business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

Forward-Looking Statements
This announcement includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement, including, without limitation, those regarding Rio Tinto’s financial position, business strategy, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to Rio Tinto’s products, production forecasts and reserve and resource positions), are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Rio Tinto, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding Rio Tinto’s present and future business strategies and the environment in which Rio Tinto will operate in the future. Among the important factors that could cause Rio Tinto’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, among others, levels of actual production during any period, levels of demand and market prices, the ability to produce and transport products profitably, the impact of foreign currency exchange rates on market prices and operating costs, operational problems, political uncertainty and economic conditions in relevant areas of the world, the actions of competitors, activities by governmental authorities such as changes in taxation or regulation and such other risk factors identified in Rio Tinto’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) or Form 6-Ks furnished to the SEC. Forward-looking statements should, therefore, be construed in light of such risk factors and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Rio Tinto expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking (except as required by applicable law, the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Takeover Code”), the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure and Transparency Rules of the Financial Services Authority and the Listing Rules of the Australian Securities Exchange) to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Rio Tinto’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Nothing in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that future earnings per share of Rio Tinto plc or Rio Tinto Limited will necessarily match or exceed its historical published earnings per share.

Subject to the requirements of the Takeover Code, none of Rio Tinto, any of its officers or any person named in this announcement with their consent or any person involved in the preparation of this announcement makes any representation or warranty (either express or implied) or gives any assurance that the implied values, anticipated results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in forward-looking statements contained in this announcement will be achieved.

Contacts:
Media Relations London
Christina Mills
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1154
Mobile: +44 (0) 7825 275 605

Nick Cobban
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1138
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 041 003

Media Relations, US
Nancy Ives
Mobile: +1 619 540 3751

Media Relations, Australia
Ian Head
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3620
Mobile: +61 (0) 408 360 101

Amanda Buckley
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3627
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 801 349

Investor Relations, London
Nigel Jones
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 2049
Mobile: +44 (0) 7917 227 365

David Ovington
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 2051
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 010 978

Investor Relations, North America
Jason Combes
Office: +1 (0) 801 685 4535
Mobile: +1 (0) 801 558 2645

Investor Relations, Australia
Dave Skinner
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3628
Mobile: +61 (0) 408 335 309

Simon Ellinor
Office:+ 61 (0) 7 3867 1067

Further information:

Email: questions@riotinto.com

Website: www.riotinto.com

High resolution photographs available at: www.newscast.co.uk