Billiton profits $5m ahead of forecasts

Billiton, the base metals company, announced pro forma full-year profits to June up 4 per cent to $335m (pounds 208m). The figures, which were included with the results of Gencor, the South African precious metals giant which demerged Billiton, were $5m ahead of the company's own forecasts when it floated at 220p in July. Aluminium profits grew 43 per cent to $193m, driven by the consolidation of associate Alusaf. Steel and ferroalloy profits dropped 83 per cent to $19m due to falling ferrochrome prices.

Investment column, page 18