BHP boosts rig numbers ahead of Elliott defence

Posted May 18, 2017

His comments come in direct response to Elliott's fresh call for an independent review of the mining giant's petroleum business, which the investor released only a few hours before Mackenzie spoke at the conference in which U.S. hedge fund's representatives are also attending.

Elliott said today: "Current management's response to the value unlock plan has been misconceived, wholly unconvincing and a disservice to BHP's owners - underestimating the groundswell of dissatisfaction among shareholders".

May 16 Elliott Management on Tuesday revised its proposal for an overhaul of BHP Billiton's corporate structure, calling for the mining giant to remain incorporated in Australia.

Citigroup analysts say activism among shareholders could ultimately result in the breakup of BHP or a significant change in its structure, according to a May 14 report.

In a subsequent letter and accompanying presentation provided to BHP today, Elliott reveals extremely broad and deep-rooted shareholder support for proactive steps to be taken by BHP management to review its petroleum business.

Mackenzie said: "Our path is deliberate, with value and returns at the centre of everything we do".

BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX, BLT.L, BBL, BHP) said that it will use a new logo starting Monday, saying simply "BHP" in block letters, dropping Billiton from its name.

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The miner started out life in 1885 as the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, or BHP, and retained that name until its 2001 merger with Anglo-Dutch mining company Billiton, said United Kingdom newspaper, the Guardian.

The miner said chief executive Andrew Mackenzie will update shareholders on its plans to significantly grow long term shareholder value.

The plan would also raise BHP's market value by $5 billion and likely cost about $200 million, as opposed to the producer's estimate of about $1.3 billion, the fund said. Mackenzie reckons cost cuts could add 10% while major projects worth $25 billion could offer average returns of over 16% at current prices.

Showing that all options to maximize the shale asset valuation, including further appraisal, new technology and additional asset sales and swaps.

Mackenzie said technology programs to improve safety, lower costs and unlock resource with an unrisked value of up to United States $12 billion were among the most capital efficient options in the portfolio. Their view was that BHP's petroleum business looks well suited to a spinoff, noting that the more BHP resists the more attractive its oil wells become.

"As we now see it, we're looking at a phased expansion into Jansen with an initial stage of four million tonnes per annum, and that will generate competitive returns", Mackenzie told the conference.

Shares of BHP Billiton plc (LON:BLT) traded up 0.71% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting GBX 1199.00. Its 52-week trading range is $22.37 to $37.44.