BHP Billiton Limited (BHP) ASX:BHP plc:LON:PLN NYSE:BBL is the world's largest diversified resource company, with operations spanning several continents. BHP is involved in mineral exploration, production and processing, oil and gas exploration and development, steel production and merchandising. The company is a major producer of a range of commodities, most notably aluminum, base metals (copper), carbon steel materials (iron ore and coking coal), energy coal, petroleum, stainless steel materials (nickel and chrome) and diamonds (over 3 million carats, all of it coming from EKATI in Canada). The company was formed through the 2001 merger of BHP, an Australian company, and Billiton, which was operated from London with the majority of operations in South Africa. The merger was structured as a dual-listed companies (or DLC) merger. As a result, the two companies still technically exist as separate entities BHP Billiton Limited (formerly BHP) and BHP Billiton Plc (formerly Billiton) but share one board and one management team, which are headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The pre-existing primary listings on the London and Australian stock exchanges are maintained, as are the secondary listings of BHP Billiton Plc on the Johannesburg and Paris stock exchanges. Like main competitor Rio Tinto BHP has corporate offices in both Australia and the UK (despite the fact that when they merged 58% of the new company was controlled by Australia's BHP). The company's fiscal year ends June 30, the BHP Billiton Group is listed in London and Australia as two entities sharing the same management but having distinct shareholders, BHP Billiton Limited (current article) appoint more of the higher management and board of directors while British based BHP Billiton plc has strong minority control of the company.
Largest domestic and international competitor Rio Tinto (US$ 41.825 billion in revenue in 2010 compared to US$52.798 billion for BHP) combined iron ore operations in Western Australia with BHP's (to be completed in the second half of 2010); The deal saves the companies US$10 billion in costs. The joint venture deal comes just after BHP attempted a hostile takeover of Rio Tinto during the economic crisis which was then followed by an attempt by Chinalco of China to buy up to 19% of Rio Tinto.
Though not a major producer of gold and uranium at present that will change when BHP's AUS$1.286 trillion olympic dam deposit in South Australia, 560 km's north of Adelaide begins producing. 59% of the mine's value comes from its large reserves of copper (4th highest of any deposit in the world), uranium (largest deposit in the world), gold (10.3% of the mine's value, 5th largest reserves) and silver deposit starts operating.
In 2010 the company had a revolving credit facility of US$3.0 billion, the same amount available in 2009 and 2008, it remains available since it has gone unused. The significant amount of credit and cash at its disposal has allowed it to pursue large acquisitions in an effort to consolidate a more diverse resource base (potash which is new to the company has become a focal point for expansion). During the 2010 fiscal year moody's made no change to BHP's credit rating (A1) despite acknowledging a slight degree of liquidity risk (standard and poor's rating is A+).
|Financials key data (directly from BHP 2010 Report)|
USD $ mil
|Earnings before taxes|
|Net oper cash flow||467||1,533||(70.0)%||2,113|
BHP Billiton Ltd. (ADR: BHP), reported record annual profit on August 18th, 2008 and said it expects demand for commodities to remain strong. Net profit for the year ended June 30 climbed 14.7% to $15.39 billion, from $13.42 billion in the previous year. Earnings before interest and tax, was $24.28 billion, up 21%. At Cannington it also owns lead resources.
|pg.63 in'10 20F||% share||2010||2009||2008|
|diamonds (mil ct)||80%||3.050||3.221||3.341|
|titanium '000 T||37.76%||434||654||643|
|nickel '000 T||100%||176.2||173.1||167.9|
|iron ore (mil T)||85%||124.962||114.415||112.260|
|manganese mil T||44.4%-60%||6.124||4.475||6.575|
|meta coal Mt||24.6Mt50%|
|energy coal Mt||100%|
All of the company's diamond production comes from Canada (EKATI, NWT), all of the metallurgical coal from Australia while about 80% of energy coal comes from various parts of America including San Juan and Colombia, the rest comes from Australia. Outside of Australia the NWT, Canada is the only source of dimaonds for both Rio Tinto and its biggest cometitor, BHP. In 2010 Canada accounted for 100% of BHP's diamond production (3 million carats contributing 2.5% to total EBITDA) and 28.5% of Rio Tinto's production (3.9 million carats, 17% higher than 2009). Rio Tinto gets its diamonds from the Diavik diamond mine and another larger one in Australia, BHP gets its diamonds from the EKATI diamond mine near Yellowknife.
olympic dam in South Australia is the world's biggest uranium deposit, 4th biggest copper deposit and 5th biggest gold deposit. With a valuation of AUS$1.286 trillion dollars it is among the most valuable mineral deposits in the world. The copper portion is worth $764 billion, the uranium $377 billion and the gold $133 billion (February 2011). The deposit, which increased in value by 50% in the second half of 2010, is now 13.8% more valuable than Norilsk in Siberia and 25.2% more than Andina in Chile. Much of the increase in the olympic dam's value is due to discoveries of additional copper (makes up 59.4% of the deposit's price tag) which both good and bad, good because it lengthens the life of mine and increases BHP's copper resource base, bad because it's mixed in with uranium which BHP isn't interested in exploiting until there's more incentive to (not many current buyers). Due to improved market prices and higher reserves BHP's Western Mining plans to expand the mine's capacity enabling it to price at a rate five times greater than it was previously prepared for.
That compares to Australia's 2010 gdp of AUS$1.315 trillion.
Australia and England are the main sources of investment with 97.87% (99.05% including New Zealand) of BHP Limited shares owned by Australians and 79.7% of BHP plc shares owned by people in England (97% of shares outside of England are owned in South Africa). 69% of BHP Limited is corporate owned while 99.36% of BHP plc is corporate owned.
In October 2010 BHP made an $40 billion unsolicited bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world's largest Potash producer and top 3 producer of nitrogen and phosphate. The deal had very little support in Canada, initially Potash Corp questioned whether the offer was a fair valuation of the company but the major stumbling block ended up being both the federal and provincial governments in Canada (Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec) which formed a strong opposition. Canada's industry leader, Tony Clement finally put a stop to the takeover on November 4, 2010 citing the $C3 billion revenue loss the deal would mean for Saskatchewan making it not a net benefit to Canada. Potash Corp is the world's largest integrated fertiliser company and largest producer of potash.
Earlier in 2010 (January 28) regional subsidiary BHP Billiton Canada acquired Athabasca Potash for $341 million in a friendly takeover.
On November 12, 2007, BHP released details of a merger proposal with Rio Tinto, which comprised a 3-for-1 share indicative offer, or 28% premium to Rio Tinto shareholders based on the combined volume weighted average market capitalizations of Rio Tinto Limited and Rio Tinto plc over the month ended 31 October 2007 and the volume weighted average BHP Billiton share prices over the same period. According to management, the combined entity could eventually deliver annual savings of $3.7 billion largely through the removal of duplication as well as procurement and operating efficiency savings, with benefits of $1.7 billion by the third year, and additional cost savings of $2 billion after seven years. The merged company would have more than $70 billion in annual sales and become the world's largest producer of copper and aluminum, and the second-largest provider of iron ore. In addition, BHP management also announced it intended to commence a $30 billion share buy-back post completion of the merger.