The world’s largest mining company BHP Billiton wants to withdraw from the shale oil production in the United States. A billion-dollar Kali project in Canada will also be postponed indefinitely, the group announced on Tuesday in Sydney. The latter could also be of interest to the German group K + S, as the capacities in this market, which is now also important for the MDAX- listed company, will not rise further.
The announcements and the published figures for the past financial year 2016/17 (end of June) were well received by the stock exchange. The share price rose by 2.75 percent on Tuesday, thus expanding its most recent price gains. Since the beginning of June, the stock has increased by nearly one-fifth.
The withdrawal from US oil production and the postponed Kali project are the result of talks with the investors and the future board member Ken MacKenzie. Many large investors – headed by Elliott – had even recently demanded that the Australian-British company be separated from the entire oil business. MacKenzie is officially starting his job only next month.
“We are proud of our performance,” said MacKenzie. Nevertheless, some companies and projects did not return what the company or its shareholders had expected. “The purchase of the slate gas business was poorly timed, we paid too much and the fast pace of early development was not optimal.” The original goal was to become market leader in the business and to repeat the opportunity around the world. However, following a global study, it was clear that the US slate business would not be repeated anywhere else.
BHP is currently the eighth largest producer of shale oil in the United States. Oil prices above 100 US dollars per barrel had lifted the highly profitable business. Because of the recently markedly lower oil prices, all producers are struggling with problems. The BHP Billiton paid off in the past fiscal year for the initiated austerity measures.
Experts believe that the company can achieve sales of between eight and ten billion US dollars. In addition to the sale, BHP also conducts an exchange run, a spin-off to the shareholders and an exchange with other divisions of a possible prospective buyer.
BHP also presented its financial results on Tuesday. The profit adjusted for special effects rose in the past financial year to 6.7 billion dollars. As a result, the company was able to score more than five times. Analysts had expected more. Shareholders are also expected to benefit from the leap. The dividend is expected to triple at 83 cents per share for the year as a whole. At the same time, BHP was able to reduce the debt by almost ten billion dollars.