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Report: Elliott renews push for BHP overhaul ahead of AGM


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Report: Elliott renews push for BHP overhaul ahead of AGM

Activist shareholder Elliott has been holding talks with international shareholders of BHP Billiton Group over the last month as it presses ahead with its campaign for an overhaul at the mining heavyweight, Reuters reported Oct. 9, citing sources.

Elliott representatives have met with London-, South Africa- and Australia-based investors, outlining the hedge fund's arguments for a shake-up ahead of the miner's annual general meeting scheduled for Oct. 19 in London and Nov. 16 in Sydney.

The shareholder has again called for the dissolution of the company's dual listing structure in favor of a single Australian-headquartered company, according to two sources.

Elliott's latest tour included revisiting shareholders it met with earlier. It also visited South Africa for the first time since it launched its campaign for the miner's restructuring.

According to Thomson Reuters data, South Africa-based Public Investment Corp. is the fourth biggest shareholder in BHP's London-listed stock.

BHP and Elliott declined to comment, the news wire noted.

Earlier, Aberdeen Asset Management, BHP's second-largest shareholder, backed the dissolution of the miner's dual-listing structure. Meanwhile, Sydney-based Tribeca Global Natural Resources Fund, which owns both Australian- and London-listed stock, also called for an overhaul of the company's board as well as for a spin off of its onshore assets.

AMP Capital, the largest shareholder of BHP's Australian-listed stock, called for an independent review of the cost of dissolving the dual-listing.

Caving in to the pressure, the miner later announced its exit from its U.S. shale business, while it was reported that BHP was considering offloading a 25% interest in the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, an investment criticized by Elliott.

In August, Elliott lifted its stake in BHP's London-listed entity to 5% from 4.1%, which gave it the right to call a general meeting of shareholders and move a resolution for a vote, a sign that it was ramping up its campaign.