Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

BHP Faces Music on Shale Spurring Belief Dividend Is Next

  • Impairment to reduce value of unit to about $16 billion
  • Producer spent $20 billion in 2011 to acquire U.S energy plays

BHP Billiton Ltd. said it expects to take a writedown of $4.9 billion on the value of its U.S. shale assets due to the tumble in oil prices. Its next safeguard against the commodities collapse may be to abandon its decade-old pledge to maintain or raise its dividend. The stock slumped to the lowest in 10 years in London.

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