BHP Billiton CEO meets with shareholder Elliott

Posted May 18, 2017

The revised proposals still take aim at unlocking value and halting underperformance in the stock but have shifted following feedback from other shareholders canvassed over the past few weeks, since the public release of Elliott's plans for BHP.

Elliott is now calling for an in-depth, open and timely independent review of the petroleum business - with full disclosure of the review results.

In its latest attack, Elliott also criticised BHP, which is listed in the United Kingdom and Australia, for having a "do nothing" approach.

On Tuesday, Elliott said there was broad support among investors for a restructuring of BHP's petroleum business and general agreement that there should be a renewed focus on capital returns.

Mackenzie added that the petroleum exploration programme has an unrisked value of more than US$20bn and cited recent successes in the Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, that give BHP "the confidence to accelerate our counter-cyclical investment".

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BHP first flagged the notion of rigs returning to its shale acreage in February, and the company flagged in April that it was looking to sell some of its lesser shale assets like the Hawkville and Fayetteville shales in South Texas and Arkansas respectively.

"None of these things are particularly new to us, we have been talking directly with BHP about getting rid of the U.S. onshore business for a very long time".

BHP was also reportedly set to meet with members of Elliott on the sidelines of a conference this week.

BHP Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie today updated progress on the Company's roadmap to grow long-term shareholder value.

BHP has invested too much - $8 billion alone on petroleum exploration since 2002 that the fund says has produced nearly no return.

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Major growth projects valued at up to $25 billion offer potential average returns of over 16% at consensus prices.

"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. 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. Other large or well-known targets of Elliott Management have been Samsung, Mentor Graphics, Cognizant Technology, Qlik, Riverbed, Informatica, LifeLock and more. Elliott's analysis shows how BHP management has inflated the cost of unification by over US$1bn - with Elliott maintaining that the unification cost is nearer US$200 million.

BHP Billiton PLC has 5,322,000,000 shares outstanding at the moment which are trading around 1183 bringing BHP Billiton PLC's market capitalisation to 62.96B GBP.

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on BBL shares.

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