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BHP Billiton PLC BLT BHP Billiton Plc 2012 AGM Speeches

  BHP Billiton PLC (BLT) - BHP Billiton Plc 2012 AGM Speeches

RNS Number : 5273P
BHP Billiton PLC
25 October 2012




Company Secretariat











25 October 2012



To: London Stock Exchange          cc: New York Stock Exchange
    Australian Securities Exchange     JSE Limited

                                      

                                      

                        For announcement to the market



Please find attached addresses to shareholders to be delivered by the Chairman
and the Chief Executive Officer at BHP Billiton Plc's Annual General Meeting
today in London.

As part of the Dual Listed Company structure of the Group, the business to  be 
conducted at the  Annual General Meetings  will be determined  by polls.  The 
poll results will not be known until the conclusion of BHP Billiton  Limited's 
Annual General Meeting which will be held in Sydney on 29 November 2012.  The 
results will then be released to the market.



Further information on BHP Billiton can be found at: www.bhpbilliton.com. 





Jane McAloon

Group Company Secretary



















      BHP Billiton Limited ABN 49 004 028
      077 BHP Billiton Plc
      Registration number 3196209
      Registered in
      Australia
      Registered in England and Wales
      Registered Office: 180 Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria
      3000 Registered Office: Neathouse Place, London SW1V 1BH
      United Kingdom

        

        The BHP Billiton Group is headquartered in Australia





                   BHP Billiton Plc Annual General Meeting

                Speeches by Jac Nasser, Chairman, BHP Billiton
                                     and
            Marius Kloppers, Chief Executive Officer, BHP Billiton

                               25 October 2012

                                      

                   BHP Billiton Plc Annual General Meeting

                               25 October 2012

                                      

Jac Nasser, Chairman, BHP Billiton



Good morning ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Jac  Nasser. May I draw  your 
attention to the disclaimer we show every year.



Welcome to the 2012 Annual General Meeting of BHP Billiton Plc. I also extend
a welcome to shareholders who are online.



All your Directors  are with us  today, including Pat  Davies, who joined  the 
Board in June. Pat was  the Chief Executive of Sasol,  a global oil, gas  and 
chemical company. Welcome Pat.

In addition to our Chief Executive Officer, Marius Kloppers, we have our Group
Management Committee  with  us  today.  During the  year,  we  appointed  two 
executives to the team: Graham Kerr and Mike Henry.



At the most senior level, our  operational executives run businesses that  are 
world class in terms of their size, quality and complexity. A key task of the
Board includes people  development and succession  planning. At BHP  Billiton 
our focus is to attract top  people, continuously assess and develop them  and 
ensure we retain the best of them. Because of that approach we are  fortunate 
to have an exceptional team of people at all levels.



Finally,  I  would  like  to  welcome  members  of  our  Forum  on   Corporate 
Responsibility. All Forum members are leaders in their own communities. They
bring a range of views  on environmental, indigenous, social and  geopolitical 
issues. 



I would especially like to welcome  the newest member of our Forum,  Professor 
Mick Dodson.  Mick  is  a  member  of  the  Yawuru  people,  the  traditional 
Aboriginal owners of the land and waters in the southern Kimberley in  Western 
Australia. Mick has  been a  global advocate  of indigenous  issues and  land 
rights. He  has been  involved  in the  United  Nations Forum  on  Indigenous 
Issues, and in 2009 was named Australian of the Year.



Global Economy



So, let me  begin today  on the  global outlook.  Uncertainty and  volatility 
continue to be the most pressing challenges for the global economy. The  free 
flow of  information,  trade  and  capital means  that  economic  issues  once 
contained within regional boundaries are now  felt across the world. This  is 
evident in Europe where growth has been negative.



Financial and economic problems continue,  and it's difficult to predict  how, 
and when, they  will be resolved.  In the United  States, while some  positive 
signs have  emerged,  consumers  there remain  cautious,  unemployment  levels 
continue to  be  high and  a  sharp  improvement in  economic  growth  remains 
unlikely. Clearly,  as you  can see  in  this slide,  most of  the  developed 
economies are in the midst of a slow and uneven recovery, with much work still
ahead.



The economic outlook for  the rest of  the world is  mixed. China, of  course, 
remains the main engine  of growth. However, even  in China, in recent  times 
the rate of economic growth has been slower. This is primarily driven by  the 
Chinese Government steering the economy to more sustainable long-term  growth. 
It is also due to the cyclical  and structural challenges being faced in  both 
the domestic Chinese  economy and  global markets.  This in  turn has  raised 
questions about China's future demand for natural resources. Let me say  that 
while we don't expect the growth levels of the past decade, we do believe that
further urbanisation and industrialisation in  China will continue to  support 
growth in demand for commodities. 



Over the next 15  years more than  250 million people will  move to cities  in 
China while, at  the same time,  the middle  class will grow  and the  general 
economic well-being of people in China will improve. It is important to  note 
that while China  is the second  largest economy  in the world,  it is  ranked 
ninety-third in terms of income per person.



There may be short-term uncertainty, but as economic development continues and
incomes rise, people naturally seek  to improve their living standards.  They 
want better quality goods and services including food, consumer and  household 
products, and  this in  turn increases  demand for  natural resources.  These 
improvements in living standards  will, over time, change  the demand mix  for 
commodities in our  portfolio. The  world has  seen this  pattern many  times 
before as major economies move through various stages of economic development.



BHP Billiton in context



These global shifts in demand  represent opportunities for your company.  One 
of the strengths of BHP Billiton has been its ability to innovate and adapt to
changes in demand for over 100 years.



Natural resources  are both  a long-term  and a  cyclical business.  The  time 
horizon for  investments is  not measured  in  months or  even years,  but  in 
decades. It's why  our strategy is  based on owning  and operating  low-cost, 
long-life assets across commodities and countries. Our strategy allows us  to 
adapt and innovate  to meet  major changes  in global  demand and  for over  a 
century it has delivered long-term value for our shareholders.



From the early 20^th century, BHP's  iron ore, coal and steel underpinned  the 
development of infrastructure such as  bridges, buildings and railways,  while 
Billiton's minerals and  aluminium helped  build the cars  and consumer  goods 
that industrialised economies needed as national incomes rose. BHP was an iron
and steel  making company  for most  of  its history.  As demand  for  modern 
telecommunications, industrial machinery  and energy grew,  we looked for  new 
opportunities in  new countries  and  new commodities.  We found  these  with 
copper, oil and  gas, and  in new  regions like  Chile, the  Pilbara and  Bass 
Strait in Australia.



BHP Billiton's copper business is a good example of how we play a crucial role
in the development of emerging  economies. That's because copper is  critical 
to power supply, telecommunications and electronic devices. Copper demand  is 
directly linked to  economic development.  For example, six  years ago  China 
consumed about 25 per cent  of global copper; today  it consumes more than  40 
per cent, and the long run supply  and demand dynamics for copper continue  to 
look positive.



Our petroleum business is another example. It is a major part of BHP Billiton
and includes operations in the Gulf of Mexico and our onshore oil, liquids and
gas assets.  We believe  these  assets, particularly  our lower  carbon  fuel 
sources, will continue to play a meaningful role as the world makes its future
energy choices.



On the other hand, our  focus on potash reflects  the growing demand for  food 
driven by  urbanisation and  increasing  world population.  Potash is  a  key 
nutrient that helps make agriculture more  productive. While potash is a  new 
sector for  us,  like  oil, gas  and  copper  once were,  it  is  mined  using 
traditional  methods;  BHP  Billiton's  core  expertise.  While  we  are  not 
producing potash just yet, over  time we expect to  play an important role  in 
helping farmers increase food production.



We are proud that we have been  able to adapt to the world's changing  demands 
for over  a  century  and  continue  to  deliver  long-term  returns  for  our 
shareholders.



Business Performance



So, with that, let  me turn to  our financial results. BHP  Billiton is in  a 
strong financial position. This is  despite the challenges of higher  capital 
and operating costs, stronger producer currencies and more regulation, as well
as volatility in commodity prices.



Within this difficult environment, our profit and net operating cash flows are
the second  highest  in our  history,  while our  full  year dividend  is  the 
highest. We reported a profit of US$15.4 billion after exceptional items  and 
a net operating cash flow of over US$24 billion. Our balance sheet is  strong 
and we retain a solid A credit rating.



We declared a full-year dividend of US$6 billion or 112 US cents per share, an
increase of  11 per  cent,  extending the  unbroken  record of  a  progressive 
dividend over the past 10 years. We also achieved a total shareholder  return 
of 700 per  cent compared to  a FTSE100 return  of 84 per  cent over the  last 
decade. This  means  that  if you  invested  £1,000  ten years  ago  and  you 
reinvested all your dividends, today it would be worth £7,000.



Impairments



However, within an overall good performance we've had a significant write down
that affected our results.



So what is a write down and why did we report one? A write down or impairment
is essentially a reduction  in the value  of a company's asset  at a point  in 
time, and is shown as an exceptional item. As part of our financial reporting
process we  assess the  value  of all  of our  assets  and make  revisions  as 
required. Let  me say  that  writing down  the value  of  any asset  is  very 
disappointing for the Board, management and shareholders.



So why did we decide to write down our US Fayetteville natural gas asset? The
main reason was a significant drop in  gas prices as a result of an  unusually 
warm winter in the US and increased natural gas supply, which together  caused 
an imbalance in  the gas  market. In  turn, this  affected the  value of  the 
Fayetteville asset and accordingly we wrote down its value by US$1.84  billion 
after tax. As  a result,  both Marius and  Mike Yeager,  our Petroleum  Chief 
Executive, advised the  Remuneration Committee that  they did not  wish to  be 
considered for a bonus this year, and the Committee and the Board agreed.



That being said,  we remain  of the  view that  the investment  in US  onshore 
natural gas and liquids is the  right decision for BHP Billiton  shareholders, 
and it is why we acquired the Petrohawk gas and liquids business. The onshore
natural gas  and liquids  that  we acquired  with Petrohawk  and  Fayetteville 
complement our existing oil and gas business.



Onshore natural gas and  liquids form a critical  part of the US  Government's 
commitment to be energy independent. While  the US still imports 45 per  cent 
of its  oil, the  energy market  in the  US is  quickly being  transformed  by 
innovations in technology  and commercialisation  of onshore  natural gas  and 
liquids.



As a result of our energy strategy, your company is well positioned to benefit
from these significant changes.



Health and Safety



Let me now turn to the critical issue of the health and safety of our  people. 
It is  core  to  every aspect  of  our  business. Their  skill,  energy  and 
commitment are the foundation of everything we  do; that is why we put  health 
and safety first.



I am deeply sorry to report that three of our people lost their lives at  work 
this year, and more recently a colleague was fatally injured at a copper  mine 
in the United States.  Let me be very  clear, any injury or  loss of life  is 
completely unacceptable. On behalf  of the Board and  management I offer  our 
sincere condolences to their families and friends.



Community Contribution



Alongside our commitment to health, safety and the environment, our ability to
make a difference in the  communities in which we  operate is critical to  our 
ongoing success. While we don't get everything right, we strive to listen  to 
people's aspirations and concerns, respect their rights and work with them  to 
implement community projects. When  we do that  well, our stakeholders  value 
their relationship with us, and everyone benefits.



For example, we  have helped to  improve maternal and  infant life  expectancy 
through the prevention of malaria and HIV. We have also helped many  children 
start, and complete, a formal education.



For the last 10 years we have invested one per cent of our pre-tax profits  in 
community programs. Last  year we  invested over US$200  million including  a 
US$65 million contribution to our UK-based charitable trust. More than  6,000 
BHP Billiton people  participated in our  Matched Giving Program  volunteering 
their time and donating money to more than 1,400 not-for-profit organisations.
Each employee's individual contribution is matched by the company.

I think all shareholders can take pride  in the time and contribution that  so 
many of our people give to the communities where they work.



Of course, in  addition to our  community programs, we  paid US$12 billion  to 
governments around the world in taxes and royalties.



Executive Compensation



Now let  me spend  a few  minutes on  executive compensation.  We  understand 
community concerns about pay levels and we support the actions of both the  UK 
and Australian  Governments to  introduce  more transparency  and  shareholder 
involvement in executive pay. Shareholders  have the right to understand  how 
compensation is structured.



Your Board and  Remuneration Committee spend  considerable time balancing  the 
need to attract  and retain  key executives  while ensuring  the alignment  of 
interests with  shareholders. What  our shareholders  tell us  about our  pay 
policy and practices is  very important to  us. We know  that there are  many 
views. However, over the last few years our pay practices have been  strongly 
supported by shareholders, with more than 96 per cent voting in favour.



Our executive compensation  is a combination  of fixed and  genuinely at  risk 
pay, which is both short and long term  in nature. First, we link pay to  the 
well-being of the company in the shorter  term. This means that we take  into 
account both the financial and non-financial effect senior executives have  on 
BHP Billiton  and our  stakeholders. These  factors include  health,  safety, 
environment and community relationships, as  well as business performance  and 
capital investments.



But we also look at  the longer term. We were  one of the first companies  to 
put in place an incentive plan that measures performance at the end of a  five 
year time frame, and we remain only one of two companies in the FTSE100 to  do 
this. We  believe that  by measuring  performance over  five years  our  plan 
better aligns executive and shareholders' interests.



Conclusion



Let me conclude  by saying  that I believe,  as shareholders,  you have  every 
reason to feel proud of your company.  We are playing a critical role in  the 
development of the global economy at  an extraordinary time in world  history. 
We are all part of an industry and  a company that is vital to improving  the 
lives of hundreds of millions of people; we supply the resources that actually
make a difference.



A natural resources  business is by  its very nature,  a long-term  business. 
Today's BHP Billiton is the result  of generations of far-sighted people.  It 
is also the result of today's leaders and employees.



On your behalf I want to thank all of our people at over 100 operations led by
a world class  management team under  Marius Kloppers. I  would also like  to 
thank you, as  shareholders, for  your commitment  to BHP  Billiton. We  will 
continue to govern the company in your interests.



Marius Kloppers, Chief Executive Officer, BHP Billiton



Thank you Jac and good morning everyone.



This morning I would like to talk about three broad themes:

· the performance of your company in the 2012 financial year;

· the market conditions we are facing, including the economic outlook; and

· how BHP Billiton is placed  to meet the conditions currently facing  the 
industry and what we are doing in response.



But first,  let me  start as  I always  do with  safety, our  overriding  core 
value. Our  Charter  is  at  the  heart of  everything  we  do.  It  clearly 
emphasises the importance of putting health  and safety first, the need to  be 
environmentally responsible  and  the role  that  we play  in  supporting  the 
communities in which we operate.



While we saw a six per cent reduction in our total recordable injury frequency
rate to the lowest level on record, tragically we had three fatalities in  the 
2012 financial year and another fatality  in September of this year. This  is 
devastating for the family, friends and colleagues of these workers, and it is
a very sobering and  salient reminder that we  must make elimination of  fatal 
risks our first priority each and  every day. No fatality is ever  acceptable 
and on behalf of  everyone at BHP  Billiton I would like  to offer my  sincere 
condolences.



Performance



Turning to our performance, I am pleased  to say that your company achieved  a 
very robust  set  of  financial results  despite  significant  volatility  and 
uncertainty in the external environment during the 2012 financial year.



We delivered  Attributable profit  of US$15.4  billion, underlying  EBITDA  of 
US$33.7 billion and underlying EBIT of US$27.2 billion. This was all achieved
during a  time  of falling  commodity  prices and  rising  costs, as  well  as 
temporary, one-off impacts  that significantly affected  three of our  largest 
and highest margin businesses: Escondida in Chile, our Petroleum operations in
the Gulf of Mexico, and Queensland Coal. Our result was not only robust in an
absolute sense, but also relative to our peers.



We were especially pleased  to report very strong  net operating cash flow  of 
US$24.4 billion, which represented only a modest reduction of one per cent  in 
the June  2012  half year  when  compared with  the  first half.  So  we  are 
continuing to generate strong results that enable us to keep investing in  the 
business throughout the cycle. These  financial results can only be  achieved 
through disciplined management and excellent operational performance.



Our overall  strong  performance  is  testament  to  the  reliability  of  our 
operations, our  highly  skilled  operators  and  the  successful  ramp-up  of 
expanded capacity.  We  achieved  annual  production records  at  10  of  our 
operations, including  a  twelfth  consecutive production  record  at  Western 
Australia Iron Ore.  I make specific  mention of Iron  Ore purely because  it 
demonstrates the value of our strategy  of investing throughout the cycle:  we 
chose to invest US$4.8 billion  in our Iron Ore business  at the depth of  the 
global financial crisis and we are now seeing the benefits of that decision.



This commitment of continued investment throughout the cycle is one of the key
elements of our broader strategy that sets us apart from our peers. In  fact, 
we now have a total of 19 predominantly brownfield projects that are on-budget
and on-schedule, with the majority delivering first production before the  end 
of the  2015  financial  year.  With  this  extensive  pipeline  of  projects 
currently in  execution,  and capital  and  exploration expenditure  of  US$22 
billion for the Group in the 2013  financial year, we are fully committed  and 
no major project approvals are anticipated over this timeframe.



The completion  of  these projects  and  the  release of  latent  capacity  in 
Escondida, Queensland Coal and the Gulf  of Mexico as they recover from  those 
temporary production issues,  will underpin  a compound  annual volume  growth 
rate of around 10 per cent this year and next.



Market Conditions



Your Chairman has  provided a  comprehensive view of  the economic  conditions 
over the past year  and our future outlook,  so I need only  make a couple  of 
brief points.



We believe the volatility we experienced  during the last financial year  will 
continue in  the short  term, as  concerns surrounding  the stability  of  the 
Eurozone and  the concerns  on  China's growth  continue  to weigh  on  market 
sentiment.



In relation  to  China,  let  me  make the  point  that  China's  slowdown  is 
directionally in line with what was  expected and what the Chinese  Government 
had indicated would occur. It is aligned  with the path taken by other  major 
economies as  they have  developed, and  is  what we  believe is  required  to 
support sustainable growth in China over the longer term.



China's GDP growth is expected to be in  the range of seven to eight per  cent 
in the coming years. While this is  lower than the double digit growth  rates 
seen over the past decade, it is coming off a much larger base and will  still 
underpin strong underlying growth in  commodities demand. China's unique  and 
substantial industrialisation and urbanisation continues to give us confidence
in the long-term outlook.



Over the  last year,  we also  saw  continued volatility  in prices  for  most 
commodities. We have now  had a decade of  unsustainably high prices in  some 
commodities such as iron ore and metallurgical coal, as growth in demand  from 
China and other developing nations outweighed the pace of new low-cost  supply 
additions. At  the  same time,  we  have experienced  very  significant  cost 
escalation in the industry, compounded by a strengthening in the currencies of
key producing countries. In the  face of higher prices,  we have also seen  a 
trend towards some governments seeking to increase royalties and taxes,  which 
placed further pressure on costs.



While the higher price environment in the preceding decade increased available
margins, the  incentive  to  build  new production  across  the  industry  was 
unprecedented. As  a result,  the shortage  of low-cost  supply is  now  well 
advanced towards  being filled  and we  are now  witnessing a  rebalancing  of 
demand and low-cost supply, and a progressive recalibration of prices  towards 
more sustainable levels.  Prices for those  commodities that experienced  the 
greatest supply-demand shortage, and  therefore the greatest price  increases, 
are expected to see 'mean reversion' in the period ahead.



Therefore, we do not anticipate a repeat of the record prices experienced over
the past  decade. The  industry's  ability to  meet incremental  demand  with 
low-cost supply has improved and, in  this regard, the opportunities that  lie 
ahead will be volumetric as opposed to  price based. What I mean by this  is, 
those who  sit at  the low  end of  the cost  curve, who  are able  to  expand 
production in a  timely and  disciplined fashion, and  who can  invest in  the 
right portfolio of commodities can indeed do very well in this environment.



How BHP Billiton is positioned to meet the challenges and opportunities



This leads me  to the  BHP Billiton strategy  of owning  and operating  large, 
long-life, low-cost,  expandable, upstream  assets diversified  by  commodity, 
geography and market. This strategy has been largely unchanged for more  than 
a decade.



Our diversification  strategy reduces  our exposure  to any  one commodity  or 
currency -  the value  of this  has  been demonstrated  time and  again,  most 
recently over the  past year  where your  company has  outperformed its  peers 
across  a  number   of  dimensions.  Combined   with  disciplined   financial 
management, it is this diversification  strategy that helps deliver  resilient 
cash flows, allowing  us to invest  in our business  throughout the  commodity 
cycle.



We have a uniquely diversified portfolio.  No other peer company has the  mix 
of minerals and oil and gas within their portfolios as we do, and the value of
this  level  of  diversification  is  particularly  evident  during  times  of 
significant market volatility. For example, over the last financial year when
global economic volatility was  significant, we had  a robust underlying  EBIT 
margin of  39 per  cent.  Illustrating the  value of  diversification:  while 
market commentators and many of our competitors were more materially  impacted 
by the decline  in iron  ore prices during  that period,  stronger prices  for 
crude oil,  liquefied natural  gas and  thermal coal  delivered a  substantial 
boost to our profits.



The diversification of our portfolio also  means we are poised to capture  the 
opportunities presented by markets  in all stages of  their demand cycle.  To 
highlight this point, China's  growth over the past  decade has been based  on 
the need for new cities,  buildings, roads, housing and  so on to support  the 
industrialisation and  urbanisation. As  has been  witnessed in  other  major 
economies as they have developed, this build out of the capital stock in China
will begin to plateau in due course. China's future needs will change and  the 
focus will gradually switch to the next level of consumer goods, such as white
goods, heating and air-conditioning, cars, stoves, and other similar goods.



This progressive transition from an  investment-led to a more  consumption-led 
economy in China, and other developing economies, will naturally result in  an 
eventual moderation of demand for commodities  such as iron ore and coal,  and 
an increase in demand for commodities such  as copper and the suite of  energy 
products.



As the  middle  class continues  to  increase as  a  proportion of  the  total 
population, better  diets will  also  likely lead  to  a demand  increase  for 
fertiliser products such as potash. So it is important to understand that the
market will still offer substantial opportunities for those companies that can
supply the  right commodities  competitively. In  fact, we  expect  commodity 
demand to grow by 50 to 80 per cent in the next 15 years, and BHP Billiton  is 
in the enviable position  of having the commodities  in our portfolio to  meet 
the demands of every stage of the industrialisation cycle.



However, as prices  for some  commodities mean revert  in real  terms we  must 
ensure  that  our  costs  remain  very  competitive,  as  the  importance   of 
maintaining our position  at the  lower end  of the  cost curve  is even  more 
critical. 



In this context,  in the last  financial year we  took decisive and  proactive 
action to ensure our businesses  remain at the lower  end of the cost  curve. 
This  includes  the  closure  of  several  higher  cost  operations  and   the 
commencement of a significant and  targeted cost reduction program across  the 
Group.  This   program  will   substantially  reduce   operating  costs   and 
non-essential expenditure, which is critical in the current environment.



However,  the  reality   is  that  we   cannot  do  this   heavy  lifting   on 
competitiveness alone.  The  cost  environment within  which  we  operate  is 
heavily influenced by government policy  and regulation. It is important  for 
Governments to provide stable, predictable policy regimes in our key operating
jurisdictions that support our own efforts to reduce costs. We accept that it
is our role  to carry  the bulk  of this  task. We  must manage  what we  can 
effectively so  that  we  can  continue to  contribute  substantially  to  the 
economies in  which we  operate. Governments  must also  play their  part  in 
ensuring that those elements  of the cost environment  they control provide  a 
competitive framework  within which  future  investment is  encouraged.  This 
extends to  royalties,  taxes,  regulatory  burdens  and  productivity-related 
policies. Collaboration  between  industry  and  government  is  critical  to 
restoring cost competitiveness in our sector.



Conclusion



In summary, despite the  last financial year  being sometimes challenging  for 
the industry,  with substantial  volatility and  uncertainty in  the  external 
environment, BHP  Billiton  delivered  a  very robust  set  of  financial  and 
operational results.



Our unchanged strategy  and disciplined financial  and operational  management 
not only benefits us in the present but also means we are uniquely  positioned 
to capture the opportunities that will exist in the future.



We have  an  unrivalled  portfolio  of  high  quality,  long-term  development 
options. This includes 19 major  growth projects currently in execution  that 
are largely  low-risk, brownfield  expansions, in  the same  assets that  have 
generated industry leading returns over more  than a decade. On average,  the 
projects in execution are expected to deliver a 15 per cent rate of return  on 
investment. As our  expenditure on these  projects reduce over  time and  our 
level of flexibility increases, we will continue to allocate future capital to
those projects  that have  the most  attractive risk/return  metrics. We  are 
committed to our long-held strategy of investing through the cycle.



Our strategy has been the hallmark  of our success. We have delivered  strong 
total shareholder returns of more than 600 per cent over the decade to the end
of the 2012  financial year. This  is approximately double  that of our  core 
peer group.  We have  grown  the dividend  and returned  approximately  US$54 
billion to shareholders over that timeframe,  equivalent to about 50 per  cent 
of our underlying earnings.



Our portfolio is perfectly suited to  the economic conditions that lie  ahead, 
and it is for this  reason we are even better  placed to outperform our  peers 
over the next decade, and well into the future.



Equally important is the support we  receive from the communities in which  we 
operate. BHP  Billiton  aims to  have  positive relationships  with  all  its 
communities, as well as leaving a positive legacy wherever we operate. It  is 
part of this commitment that drives our voluntary community investments, which
I am proud to say  in the 2012 financial year  totalled US$214 million. As  a 
large organisation that leaves an indelible footprint wherever we operate,  we 
believe we  have  an  economic  and social  responsibility  to  make  positive 
contributions to the communities, regions and countries where we work.



In concluding, I would like to thank you, our owners. We value your continued
support and always welcome your contributions.



Finally, I would like to finish by thanking our more than 46,000 employees and
78,000 contractors around the world who are at the very heart of our success.



The Chairman then conducted the formal items of business.



Closing Remarks



In closing, let me again thank you for your support and commitment.



We value  your comments  and ideas  and will  continue to  strive for  ongoing 
improvement on your behalf.



BHP Billiton Limited will  hold its AGM  on the 29^th  of November in  Sydney, 
Australia and the results of both meetings will be notified to stock exchanges
and posted on our website.



Thank you for  coming along  today and I  hope you  have time to  join us  for 
refreshments.

                     This information is provided by RNS
           The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

END


MSCMABLTMBATMAT -0- Oct/25/2012 09:57 GMT
 
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