REFILE-UPDATE 2-Iron ore miner Fortescue eyes dividend rise as profit leaps
(Refiles to remove duplicate "was" paragraph 6, corrects spelling of Billiton in paragraph 14)
* Fortescue profit triples on lower costs
* Says on track to further increase dividend payout ratio
* Debt coming down
By James Regan
SYDNEY, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Australia's Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, the world No. 4 iron ore producer, reported a tripling of its annual net profit on Monday to nearly $1 billion and said it could shoulder a big jump in future dividend payouts.
Fortescue surpassed analysts' forecasts by boosting its final dividend by 500 percent to A$0.12 ($0.90) a share for fiscal 2016, taking its total payout for the year to 36 percent of net profit.
With iron ore prices holding up better than expected and an attack on production costs and debt, the company's payout ratio could exceed its 40 percent target "in the not too distant future," Chief Executive Nev Power told an analysts' call.
Power said global iron ore supply was now in balance with demand, while China's ability to produce half the world's steel was underpinning the company's prospects. Continuación...