BHP profit to top $2.5 million per hour

The market is expecting BHP Billiton to post record-setting annual profits of $US22.1 billion next week on revenues forecast to be a staggering $71.9 billion.

BHP investors, whose stock has hardly moved in a year despite stellar growth rates at the Melbourne-based company, would want to hear if another share buyback will follow the $10 billion round completed in June and any update on its purchase of Petrohawk.

The world’s biggest miner has a history dating back 150 years and its operations span the globe from potash in Canada (pictured) and coal in South Africa to nickel in Australia and copper in Chile.

Of the 16 analysts following the stock quoted by Reuters, 9 have a buy rating on the stock and none believe the company will underperform the market. 10 have upped their revenue guidance for the year within the last month while 8 also believe profits will be higher than previously expected when the firm announces results on Wednesday.

BHP closed down 1.05% in Sydney on Tuesday where it has a market value of A$217.8 billion or US$227.7 billion. The counter has been static over the past year, losing just under a $1 or 2.4% since August 2010. The share is down 12.8% year to date.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the expected profit – easily eclipsing BHP’s profit record for corporate Australia – is the consensus of 21 analysts after the group’s recent June-year/June-quarter production report. BHP’s results traditionally vary little from market consensus.

In July MINING.com asked: What the frack? after BHP announced a $12.1 billion bid for Petrohawk, the US shale gas producer. BHP’s record with takeovers is patchy and gas is not a traditional strength of the company.

Seeking Alpha reports in spite of many class action lawsuits accusing Petrohawk’s board of not evaluating all options before agreeing to the acquisition, the company insists it’s unlikely to attract a rival bid.

Bloomberg reports BHP’s biggest shareholder, BlackRock Inc., said last week the company should start another share buyback because failing to do so would send a “poor signal” to the market.

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