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South32 profit plunges on weaker coal prices and asset writedowns

South32 has blamed lower aluminium and thermal coal prices for a 25 per cent plunge in earnings over the past year.

Underlying earnings for the 12 months to June 30 fell to $US992 million ($1.46 billion) from $US1.33 billion in the prior year as the fall in aluminium and coal prices was too much to be offset by cost cuts, the mining company said in a statement to the ASX on Thursday morning.

South32 CEO Graham Kerr.

South32 CEO Graham Kerr.Credit:Philip Gostelow

Net income fell 71 per cent to $US389 million, weighed down by $US578 million in writedowns in the value of the company's South Africa Energy Coal operation.

South32 was spun out of the world's biggest miner BHP in 2015. The miner, which has operations in Australia and around the world, has a market capitalisation of about $14.9 billion.

The company will pay a final dividend of 2.8 US cents per share (fully franked) for the year, down from 6.2 US cents a year ago.

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