Fortescue shares slide on profit numbers

Profit at Western Australian iron ore company Fortescue Metals almost halved in the first six months of this financial year, as iron prices plummeted.

First half net profit fell 40 per cent to $462 million.

The company says its expansion plans are continuing and increased production helped to offset the record slump in iron ore prices last year.

Chief executive Nev Power also says there has been a better than expected recovery in iron ore prices over the last few months.

"It has recovered more strongly than we anticipated, and I think there are a number of underlying factors in that there is a very increased confidence in the new leadership in China to continue the urbanisation and infrastructure building and that's translating to a lot of confidence and has restarted a lot of construction activity in China," he observed.

Investors will not receive an interim dividend, but the company says it will consider a full-year dividend if iron ore prices improve.

Investors are selling down the stock as a result, it was off 3.6 per cent to $4.995 by 2:36pm (AEDT).

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