BHP Billiton shareholders okay South32 demerger

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Image credit: BHP Billiton website

BHP Billiton shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the proposed demerger of South32, the company announced on Wednesday.

Image credit: BHP Billiton website
Image credit: BHP Billiton website

According to the press release, 98.05% of BHP’s shareholders attending the simultaneous shareholder general meetings in Perth and London voted in favour of the demerger, which was a major part of BHP’s agenda to simplify its portfolio by splitting the business into core and non-core operations.

“The demerger of South32 simplifies BHP Billiton’s portfolio while retaining the benefits of scale and diversification. We believe that the demerger will create two successful companies in BHP Billiton and South32,” said BHP Billiton Chairman, Jac Nasser.

“The demerger of South32 is a major step forward in the evolution of BHP Billiton and our Board believes it will create long-term value for our shareholders. We wish the employees, management and Board of South32 well as the new company prepares for business in its own right.”

South32’s will be headquartered in Perth, with a regional head office and global shared services centre located in Johannesburg. The company will have a portfolio of cash generative assets producing alumina, aluminium, coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc.

BHP Billiton said it would cease trading with an entitlement to South32 shares from the end of 15 May 2015 on the ASX, LSE and JSE.

“It is expected that South32 shares will commence trading on a deferred settlement basis on the ASX, normal settlement basis on the JSE and on a when-issued basis on the LSE on 18 May 2015,” the company stated in the press release.

“Commencement dates for normal trading of South32 shares on the LSE and ASX will then progressively occur as outlined in the Shareholder Circular for the demerger of South32 by BHP Billiton.”