More on BHP Billiton demerger expected in full year report

BHP Billiton has reiterated its focus on portfolio simplification, with the board meeting this week to discuss strategies to make the company “simpler and more productive”.

From a structural perspective BHP said it will focus on the major iron ore, copper, coal, petroleum assets, with potash a potential inclusion.

BHP revealed plans to pull out of West African operations in March, prompted by a significant drop in the price of iron ore to $80 per tonne.

On April 1 BHP announced its plans to demerger non-core assets such as nickel, manganese and aluminium, many of which were acquired in the merger with London-listed Billiton in 2001.

SMH said there has also been speculation about dropping thermal coal assets in South Africa, and there is a likelihood that NSW coal will also go.

The company has indicated a preference to demerger unwanted assets in a single entity, an announcement which prompted a 2.2 per cent jump of $0.89 per share, up to $39.05.

NickelWest was put up for grabs in May, and shortly after BHP sold the West Musgrave Project to West Australian junior Cassini Resources.

So far, BHP Billiton has sold off $US6.5 billion worth of assets over the past 25 months.

The full year report is due for release on Tuesday 19, which will show BHP Billition has mined 225mt of iron ore and 45mt of metallurgical coal in 2013-14, both up 20 per cent on the previous year.

Thermal coal production rose 1 per cent to 73.3mt, and copper rose 2 per cent to 1.73mt, while nickel was down 7 per cent to 143,200 tonnes.

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