BHP's Kloppers gets 51% rise as profits sink

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Despite saying that the past 12 months were among the toughest on record for the mining industry, Marius Kloppers, the chief executive of the resources giant BHP Billiton, received a 51 per cent pay rise last year. The increase comes amid falling profits, the recession and the company's failure to pull off the takeover of rival Rio Tinto.

According to the group's annual report, published yesterday, Mr Kloppers, who has run the group since 2007, was paid $10.4m in salary, bonuses and other benefits. The award, which is up from $6.9m (£4.2m) last year, comes after the world's biggest miner recorded annual pre-exceptional profits of $5.9bn, a 61.8 per cent drop on its 2008 numbers. While shareholders were paid an 82 cent per share dividend, a 17.1 per cent increase on last year, Mr Kloppers's basic salary rose by 19 per cent, to more than $2m. His annual cash bonus fell by a little under $100,000 to $1.7m.

The package was inflated by the vesting of a number of long-term incentive plans, said a spokesman for the company, while the rise in basic salary included an increase awarded on becoming chief executive. Nonetheless, the size of the reward will cause embarrassment coming just a month after the company announced its first drop in annual profits for seven years.

BHP incurred costs of $450m on its abandoned bid to buy Rio Tinto.