Rio Tinto announces record financial results and total dividend of 1,040 US cents per share for 2021, a 79% payout

23 February 2022

MELBOURNE, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said: "Our people have continued to safely run our world-class assets and are working hard to improve our operational performance, despite challenging operating conditions from prolonged COVID-19 disruptions. The recovery of the global economy, driven by industrial production, resulted in significant price strength for our major commodities, which we were able to capture, achieving record financial results with free cash flow of $17.7 billion and underlying earnings of $21.4 billion, after taxes and government royalties of $13.0 billion. This enables us to pay our highest total dividend ever of 1,040 US cents per share, including a 247 US cents per share special dividend, representing a 79% payout.

"With the launch of our new strategy, we have set a new direction for Rio Tinto to thrive in a decarbonising world. We have a portfolio that is well positioned, and are targeting disciplined investment in commodities that will see strong demand in the coming decades. Our agenda is an ambitious, multi-year journey which we are determined to deliver and we have already taken the first steps, with underground operations under way following the Oyu Tolgoi agreement and a binding agreement to acquire the Rincon lithium project in Argentina. We continue to evolve and deepen the way we engage and interact with all stakeholders as we work hard to generate and strengthen relationships wherever we operate. Our actions will ensure we continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, and make a broader contribution to society, particularly in relation to the drive to net-zero carbon emissions."

At year end




Net cash generated from operating activities (US$ millions)




Purchases of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets (US$ millions)




Free cash flow1 (US$ millions)




Consolidated sales revenue (US$ millions)




Underlying EBITDA1 (US$ millions)




Profit after tax attributable to owners of Rio Tinto (net earnings) (US$ millions)




Underlying earnings per share1 (EPS) (US cents)




Ordinary dividend per share (US cents)




Special dividend per share (US cents)




Total dividend per share (US cents)




Net cash / (debt)1 (US$ millions)




Underlying return on capital employed (ROCE)1




1 This financial performance indicator is a non-GAAP alternative performance measure ("APM"). It is used internally by management to assess the performance of the business and is therefore considered relevant to readers of this document. It is presented here to give more clarity around the underlying business performance of the Group’s operations. APMs are reconciled to directly comparable IFRS financial measures on pages 78 to 86. Our financial results are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) - see page 35 for further information. Footnotes are set out in full on page 8.

  • Safety continues to be our first priority: our managed operations were fatality-free for a third successive year. The all-injury frequency rate deteriorated slightly to 0.40: fatigue, labour shortages and other pressures from COVID-19 have heightened the safety risk in day-to-day operations and we recognise that there is no room for complacency.
  • On 1 February 2022, we published a comprehensive external review of our workplace culture, commissioned as part of our commitment to ensure sustained cultural change across our global operations. The review is part of the work being undertaken by our Everyday Respect task force, which was launched in March 2021 to better understand, prevent and respond to harmful behaviours in the workplace. We will implement all recommendations from the report.
  • We continue to focus on rebuilding our relationships with Traditional Owners across our global operations. In September we published an interim report on our Communities and Social Performance commitments showing our progress. At the end of 2021, the relationship between the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) leadership and Rio Tinto Iron Ore is constructive and considered. An agreement on a co-management of Country approach and appropriate remedy for the destruction of Juukan Gorge is substantially progressed.
  • On 14 February 2022, we announced an agreement with the Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation on a new co-designed management plan to ensure the protection of significant social and cultural heritage values as part of our proposed development of the Western Range iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Social, Cultural Heritage Management Plan is the result of strong collaboration over the past year between the Yinhawangka people and Rio Tinto including "on-Country" visits, archaeological and ethnographic surveys and workshops. As a result, the mine has been designed to reduce impacts on social and cultural heritage values. We submitted the plan to Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority on 1 February 2022, as part of our submission regarding the Greater Paraburdoo Iron Ore Hub Proposal.
  • In October, we unveiled a longer term strategy to ensure we thrive in a decarbonising world, while continuing to pay attractive dividends, in line with our shareholder returns policy. To achieve this, we will accelerate our own decarbonisation, grow in materials enabling the global energy transition and develop products and services that help our customers to decarbonise, through our key enablers of becoming best operator, excelling in development, achieving an impeccable ESG performance and strengthening our social licence to operate.
  • To deliver our strategy, we set a new target to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, more than tripling our previous target, and are bringing forward our 15% reduction in emissions to 2025 (previously 2030), supported by an estimated $7.5 billion of direct investments between 2022 and 2030. These projects deliver a range of economic outcomes but in aggregate are value accretive at a very modest carbon price. Most importantly, they safeguard the integrity of our assets over the longer term and reduce the risk profile of our cash flows. We are accelerating our activity in the Pilbara and expanding our tenure for potential wind and solar sites.
  • Following the comprehensive agreement announced on 25 January 2022, underground operations are now under way at the Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold project in Mongolia. The agreement will move the project forward, reset the relationship between the partners and unlock the most valuable part of the mine, with first sustainable production expected in the first half of 2023.
  • In line with our rigorous approach to capital allocation, we made significant progress with our Battery Minerals portfolio in 2021, signing a binding agreement to acquire the Rincon lithium project in Argentina. We also committed funding for the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia, subject to receiving all relevant approvals, permits and licences. In January 2022, the Government of Serbia cancelled the Spatial Plan for the Jadar project and required all related permits to be revoked. We are disappointed by this announcement and are committed to exploring all options and are reviewing the legal basis of the decision and the implications for our activities and people in Serbia.
  • To achieve our ambition of becoming the best operator, we initiated the Rio Tinto Safe Production System at five pilot sites in 2021, focusing on sustainably unlocking capacity. We are already seeing returns, including a significant improvement at the Kennecott concentrator since deployment in July. We are planning a more extensive programme in 2022, subject to COVID-19 constraints, with up to 30 deployments at 15 sites and up to 80 rapid improvement projects, targeting bottlenecks.

The 2021 full year results release is available here

This announcement is authorised for release to the market by Rio Tinto’s Group Company Secretary.

LEI: 213800YOEO5OQ72G2R82

Classification: 3.1 Additional regulated information required to be disclosed under the laws of a Member State

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