rio tinto

Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) shares fell nearly 5 percent on Wednesday morning, despite posting a 33 percent rise in first-half profit.

The Anglo-Australian mining giant pulled out of its Australian coal-mining operations, offloading its remaining Queensland coal mines for just under $4 billion earlier this year. The group said on Wednesday that it would be returning $7.2 billion to shareholders, with Rio Tinto chief executive JS Jacques saying the results had been aided by a favourable market.

“As a result, we continue to deliver superior shareholder returns with a record interim dividend,” Jacques said.

“We will continue to invest in Tier 1 growth, further strengthen our portfolio and maintain a strong balance sheet in order to deliver superior returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term.”

Net earnings for the six months through June reached $4.38 billion, with underlying earnings up 12 percent to $4.42 billion. The group reported an interim dividend of 127p per share, up 15 percent on-year.

“Inflationary pressures are being experienced across the industry, but we have been able to offset these through our mine-to-market productivity programme”, Jacques continues.

“We will continue to invest in Tier 1 growth, further strengthen our portfolio and maintain a strong balance sheet in order to deliver superior returns to shareholders in the short, medium and long term.”

Shares in Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) are currently trading down 4.49 percent on the news, at 4,008.00 (1044GMT).