August 21, 2017 / 10:34 PM / a year ago

CORRECTED-BHP misses annual profit forecast; focus on paying down debt

(Corrects first paragraph to say five-fold rise in profit, not four-fold)

Aug 22 (Reuters) - Global mining giant BHP Billiton posted a five-fold rise in annual underlying profit on Tuesday to $6.7 billion on the back of a recovery in industrial commodities markets, but missed analysts’ forecasts.

BHP increased its final dividend to $0.43 a share from $0.14 a year ago and cut net debt by 37 percent to $16.3 billion. The dividend also fell below expectations.

“Strong momentum will be carried into the 2018 financial year, with volume growth of 7 percent and further productivity gains expected,” Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement. (Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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