World’s largest miner BHP (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) expects to fully divest its US oil and gas business, which it acquired in a $20 billion deals spree in 2011, and is also seeking a buyer for its nickel business in Australia.
The announcements, made by chief executive Andrew Mackenzie during a conference call with investors and media on Thursday, come on the heels of global fund manager Aberdeen Standard Investments decision to fully support activist investor Elliott Management’s push for widespread structural changes at BHP.
Aberdeen is the third-biggest shareholder in BHP, with a 4.9% holding, just behind Elliott, which has a 5.04% stake in the group. The Anglo-Australian mining giant has been under pressure from Elliott Management to rethink its investment in oil and boost shareholder returns.
Announcing its annual results in August, BHP said it would sell its loss-making US shale unit, which it had identified as a non-core business. On Thursday Mackenzie stressed the company was “very” determined to divest those assets.
“We have a strong sense of urgency,” Mackenzie told reporters following the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne.
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