BHP Billiton share price: Activist investor lifts interest in blue-chip miner

Elliott Management steps up push to reform group

BHP Billiton share price: Activist investor lifts interest in blue-chip miner

Activist investor Elliott Management has lifted its stake in BHP Billiton (LON:BLT), Reuters has revealed. The move comes as the hedge fund steps up its campaign to reform the Anglo-Australian miner.

BHP Billiton’s share price has jumped in early morning trade alongside other London-listed miners, tracking oil and zinc prices higher. As of 08:12 BST, the group’s shares were changing hands 1.56 percent higher at 1,363.00p, outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which is currently 0.50 percent better off at 7,420.73 points.

Reuters reported this morning that hedge fund Elliot Management had said that it now held five percent in BHP Billiton’s London-listed shares. The New York-based investor launched its campaign in April when it held a 4.1-percent stake in the FTSE 100 company, which it later increased to 4.5 percent.

Elliott has urged BHP to overhaul its business, calling for the end of the miner’s dual structure which has the company based both in London and Sydney, and has proposed a demerger of the group’s US petroleum business. The hedge fund, however, struck a more positive note today, following the recent appointment of a new chairman at the Anglo-Australian miner.

“Recent statements by the company give us confidence that Chairman-elect Ken MacKenzie will heed shareholders’ calls to take constructive steps to enhance value for BHP and its owners,” Elliott said, as quoted by the newswire, adding that it was looking forward alongside other shareholders “to hearing more from management on this subject, following the growing analyst and shareholder consensus that BHP should exit US shale”.

The comments came with MacKenzie canvassing shareholders worldwide ahead of taking up his position as chairman on September 1. BHP meanwhile is scheduled to update investors on its full-year performance next Tuesday. 

As of 08:41 BST, Wednesday, 16 August, BHP Billiton plc share price is 1,370.50p.

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