Johannesburg - Shares in BHP Billiton rise to a record high in Johannesburg as the global miner tops market expectations with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit and hinted it may launch a share buy-back in August.

BHP Billiton, which also trades in London and Sydney, is up 1.04 percent at 349.91 rand, after setting a record high of 356.50.

Underlying attributable profit rose to $7.76 billion for the six months to December, up from $5.94 billion a year earlier.

Analysts had been expecting a profit of $6.925 billion on the same basis. - Reuters