Rio Tinto Group, the target of a $138 billion hostile bid from BHP Billiton Ltd., said second-half profit rose 11 percent on record iron-ore production and its acquisition of Alcan Inc.

Rio's net income in the six months ended Dec. 31 climbed to $4.06 billion, from $3.64 billion a year earlier. The earnings were calculated by subtracting first-half profit from full-year figures published Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. Sales advanced 49 percent to $17.7 billion.

The increase for Rio, which owns Kennecott Utah Copper, contrasts with the 2.4 percent drop in earnings reported last week by BHP, the world's largest mining company. The gain will support chief executive officer Tom Albanese as he tries to keep the company independent and bolster his argument that it has better growth prospects than BHP over the next five years, analysts said.