MELBOURNE May 4 Australia warned on Thursday
that a push by activist investor Elliott Management to ditch
global miner BHP Billiton's dual listing may be a
criminal offence and could be subject to civil penalties.
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison confirmed on Thursday
that BHP Billiton is required to remain listed on the Australian
Securities Exchange under the terms of the government's approval
of the merger of BHP and Billiton in 2001.
"It is unthinkable that any Australian government could
allow this original Big Australian to head offshore," Morrison
said in a statement.
Elliott, led by U.S. financier Paul Singer, wants BHP to
spin off its U.S. oil assets, ditch dual listings in London and
Sydney to consolidate them in the U.K., and hand back more money
Morrison warned that BHP Billiton could face civil penalties
under the country's foreign takeovers law if it were to carry
out Elliott's proposal to scrap the dual listing in Australia
and could block a takeover of BHP's Australian assets by a
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Chris Reese)