BHP Billiton to create independent global metals and mining company

by Ina King (Potgieter)

BHP BillitonInternational mining giant BHP Billiton reports that, following the transformational growth of its major businesses, it now has two “great” companies embedded within its portfolio. As such, the mining house plans to create an independent global metals and mining company based on a selection of its high-quality aluminium, coal, manganese, nickel and silver assets through a demerger of its current enterprise.

It is envisaged that the demerger, still subject to final Board, shareholder and third party approvals, will allow the company “to improve the productivity of its largest businesses more quickly, and create a new company specifically designed to enhance its assets’ performance”. It is envisaged that the demerger will be completed in the first half of the 2015 calendar year.

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The new resources company, which has aluminium, coal, nickel, silver and manganese as its key product groups would have assets in five countries and more than 24 000 employees and contractors worldwide. BHP Billiton’s asset-based countries are Australia, South Africa, Mozambique, Brazil and Columbia.

“We believe the proposed demerger, if implemented, will accelerate the simplification of the Group’s portfolio, provide investors with choice and unlock value in both companies,” commented BHP Billiton Chairman Jac Nasser.

All African mining investment opportunities arising from BHP Billiton’s expanded operations as a result of the demerger will be made available for viewing on Africa Mining IQ, along with other African mining investment opportunities. With over 1 850 projects in Africa currently listed on its online database, Africa Mining IQ organises projects in terms of grassroots, pre-feasibility, feasibility, bankable, active, operational and dormant phases.

Subsequent to the demerger, the simplified BHP Billiton, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, will retain the BHP Billiton name and comprise BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc, retaining the dual-listed company structure on the ASX and LSE (primary), JSE (secondary) and NYSE (ADRs). Its key business will be iron ore, copper, coal, petroleum and potash. The new resources company will be headquartered in Perth, Australia with regional headquarters and a Global Service Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. Listing on the ASX and JSE (secondary listings), its key product groups will be aluminium, coal, nickel, silver and manganese.

“The new company will be established with strong leadership,” says Nasser. “Its Chairman will be David Crawford, who will retire from BHP Billiton Board in November 2014, and has a deep understanding of the resources industry and nearly 20 years on the Board. The importance of South Africa to the new company will be reflected in the formation of its board and management team, as well as its commitment to the country’s economic development and transformation objectives.”

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