Mining group Xstrata reinstated a dividend amid a bullish outlook for metals demand after posting a 41 percent fall in 2009 profit on Monday, in line with expectations.

The board's increased confidence in the medium term outlook for commodities and Xstrata's encouraging prospects and financial position have enabled the resumption of dividend payments, Chief Executive Mick Davis said in a statement.

A final dividend of 8 cents per share will be paid in May.

Robust economic growth and demand for commodities from industrializing nations is likely to continue, Davis added, saying Asia would be the main driver of metals demand as the pace of recovery in rich nations was uncertain.

Anglo-Swiss Xstrata said attributable profit, excluding exceptional items and discontinued operations, last year fell to $2.77 billion from $4.70 billion in 2008 mainly due to weaker metals prices on 16 percent lower revenue of $23.5 billion.

This compared to a consensus profit forecast of $2.76 billion, according to 11 analysts on Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Julie Crust)