Vale falls to fresh 12-year low

Shares in top iron ore miner Vale dropped to the lowest level since early 2003 on Tuesday, after the Brazilian company announced it's halving its dividend paid to shareholders.

In early afternoon trade ADRs of Rio de Janeiro-based Vale trading in New York fell to $4.03, a fresh 12-year low and down more than 50% since the start of the year.

The market value of company, which is also the world's number one producer of nickel, ascended to just shy of $200 billion in January 2011 as iron ore hit highs above $190 a tonne and nickel went for more than $20,000 tonne.

That put Vale ahead of its main rival Rio Tinto, but the Brazilian company is now worth less than $22 billion compared to $62 billion for the Australian firm. Benchmark iron ore was last trading at $55 a tonne following a record low for the spot price of $44 a tonne struck in July. Nickel recently fell through $10,000 for the first time since 2009.

Vale is proposing a pay-out of $500 million for the second tranche of its 2015 dividend, half the $1 billion it proposed in January. The second dividend instalment is less than $0.10/share and according to a statement reflects "the more uncertain scenario for mineral commodities prices and the focus on managing the balance sheet."

Vale's board of directors will vote on the dividend in two week's time with payment scheduled for the end of October. Vale shares will be traded ex-dividend on BM&FBovespa, NYSE and Euronext Paris as of October 16 and on the HKEx as of October 19.​