BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) intends to sell its nickel division, The Times has reported. The news comes after the Anglo-Australian miner recently revealed that it was planning to exit its US shale business, bowing to pressure from an activist investor.
BHP Billiton’s share price has fallen into the red in London in today’s session, having given up 1.14 percent to 1,435.00p as of 14:35 BST, largely in line with losses in the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 1.06 percent lower at 7,323.04 points. The miner’s shares have added just under a third to their value over the past year, and are up by nearly 10 percent in the year-to-date.
The Times reported today that BHP Billiton had signalled that in the long term it will probably sell Nickel West, which operates in Western Australia. The division was stranded as an orphan asset after it was not included in BHP’s spin-off of South32. The FTSE 100 company, however, subsequently committed to it by boosting its processing capacity to meet the anticipated demand from the take-up of electric vehicles.
“Nickel West is never going to be a particularly large part of our portfolio but for now it’s one of those assets where it’s a good idea to hold and improve,” BHP’s chief financial officer Peter Beaven commented, as quoted by the newspaper. “I think ultimately it’s a sell but it’s a sell for value.”
The comments follow BHP’s full-year results last week when the company revealed that it had returned to full-year profit, as it cut costs and benefitted from stronger commodity prices. The Anglo-Australian miner further said that it was “actively pursuing options to exit” its US non-shore assets.