SYDNEY May 15 One of the last reminders of a
merger 16 years ago that created the world's biggest mining
house will be erased on Monday when BHP Billiton
changes its name back to just BHP.
Dropping the Billiton reflects a move to simplify its
corporate structure, the company said, and return to its
founding roots in Australia more than a century ago, when it was
known as Broken Hill Proprietary Co Ltd.
BHP, which has operations in 25 countries, will retain its
dual listings in Australia and London.
BHP head of external affairs Geoff Healy dismissed
suggestions that the name-cropping is in response to a call by
activist shareholder Elliott Management for the miner to scrap
its dual-listing mechanism in Sydney and London and spin off
assets, specifically its U.S. shale oil unit.
"There is zero connection with Elliott's proposals," Healy
said. "We've been doing this for 18 months."
The company is spending an initial A$10 million ($7.4
million) on an advertising campaign in Australia to promote the
The merger of BHP and South African mining house Billiton in
June 2001 created a company with an initial enterprise value of
$38 billion. The joining, however, came to be widely regarded by
analysts as value-destructive, even during the China-fuelled
boom years at the end of the last decade.
Most of the original Billiton assets were included in a 2015
spin-off, South32, and no longer contribute to the
company's bottom line.
South32 was initially derided as a compilation of BHP
Billiton's most unwanted assets, but it has frequently
outperformed the parent company.
($1 = 1.3528 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Tom Hogue)