On Tuesday, BHP Group PLC (LON:BHP) and Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN) will kick off earnings season for the big miners.

BHP, which recently upped its production guidance, is expected to report its biggest half-year profits since 2014.

READ: What to watch for as mining reporting season rolls round again

JPMorgan hails BHP as “the Big Aussie, now the largest company in the FTSE 100 by market cap at £118bn” and its top pick among the European diversified miners.

Dividends will be a key focus, the investment bank’s analysts said, predicting as a ‘base case’ a US$12bn ordinary dividend for the current financial year that could rank as the second largest in the MSCI Europe index.

The analysts also see the company as having the capacity to launch a US$2bn share buyback.

For the half-year numbers, the Vuma consensus for BHP is for EBITDA of US$14bn and an interim dividend of 81 US cents per share.

“We expect iron ore will dominate earnings, with the division’s $10.5bn EBITDA representing circa 75% of group total. We expect this will mark BHP’s highest half-yearly EBITDA since 2014.”

READ: Mining sector dividend yields are best value for years, suggests Citigroup=

Glencore’s final results will be the last of Ivan Glasenberg’s tenure, as he confirmed in December that he will retire by the middle of 2021 and coal boss Gary Nagle will take the top job.

The City is expecting Nagle to be introduced at these results, so maybe he will have some interesting titbits for investors or he might not want to step on his predecessor’s toes.

“We do not expect any material change in strategy under the new CEO, though we see potential to further streamline the portfolio and build ESG credentials (eg governance & responsible coal strategy),” analysts at UBS said, adding that further management changes are likely in coming months.

The analysts, who see potential for a global settlement with the US Department of Justice and other regulators over the next 12-18 months, forecast Glencore will report underlying earnings (EBITDA) of around US$11bn for 2020 and a dividend of around US$0.10 per share.

Significant announcements expected on Tuesday February 16:

Trading announcements: Safestore Holdings PLC (LON:SAFE)

Interims: BHP Group PLC (LON:BHP), Blancco Technology Group PLC (LON:BLTG), Pan African Resources PLC (LON:PAF), Petra Diamonds Ltd (LON:PDL)

Finals: Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN)

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