Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Activist Shareholder Elliott Raises Stake in World's Biggest Miner

Updated on
  • Singer’s Elliott holds 5% of company’s London-traded shares
  • Incoming BHP chairman likely to take constructive steps: fund

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BHP Billiton Ltd. appears to be heeding investors’ calls for change, activist shareholder Elliott Management Corp. said, disclosing it has boosted its holding in the world’s biggest mining company.

Paul Singer’s Elliott raised its stake in BHP’s London-traded shares to 5 percent, the fund said Wednesday in a statement, from a 4.1 percent interest in April. The fund has an economic interest in 0.5 percent in BHP’s Sydney-listed shares, according to its website.

Under U.K. law, investors holding 5 percent or more have power to call a company meeting. BHP declined to comment on Elliott’s change in holdings.

Elliott is continuing to press for BHP to enhance returns, simplify its corporate structure and overhaul its oil and gas unit. Recent company statements indicate incoming chairman Ken MacKenzie is likely to “heed shareholders’ calls to take constructive steps to enhance value,” Elliott said.

“The election of a new chairman is an opportunity for action,” the fund said. “With new leadership, shareholders fully expect the true value of their company to be unlocked -- something which we are confident BHP’s chairman-elect has firmly in mind as he takes the reins.”

BHP advanced 0.2 percent to A$25.67 in Sydney trading Wednesday.

MacKenzie, appointed to Melbourne-based BHP’s board in September 2016, takes up the chairman role next month to replace Jacques Nasser, 69. In a series of meetings in recent months, the former packaging-industry executive has listened to concerns from investors on the company’s asset mix and the composition of its board, Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and Argo Investments Ltd. said in July.

BHP is forecast to report underlying earnings jumped to $7.3 billion in fiscal 2017, from $1.2 billion a year earlier, according to the average of 20 analysts’ forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

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