BHP Completes Spin Of Non-Core Ore Into South32

By far, the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton(BHP) got a bit smaller this week with the spinoff(or demerger, if you prefer) of South32.  South32 is a collection of non-core bauxite, alumina, aluminium, thermal and metallurgical coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc assets accounting for under 5% of BHP’s 2014 profit. BHP shareholders received 1 share of South32 for each BHP share held.

Why South32? According to The Australian, “The company derives its name from the 32nd parallel south line of latitude that links its main assets in Australia and South Africa.” Graham Kerr, CEO of South32

said he is very proud of South32’s heritage and thanked shareholders for the trust they have placed in the management and staff of this new company.

“Today is a significant occasion; one that we are pleased to be celebrating in what are otherwise challenging times for the resources sector. South32 will start life with a strong balance sheet, along with high quality, well maintained, cash generative assets and highly talented people. We will work hard to maintain the trust of our owners and partners as we seek to unlock the potential of our assets and grow value for our shareholders and the communities in which we operate.”

“We believe that our regional model will enable us to improve our productivity and performance in a sustainable way. We will aim to combine strong operational performance with financial discipline as we seek to increase shareholder value.”

South32 employees 27,000 people and is

the world’s largest producer of manganese ore and owns the world’s largest silver mine. We run two high quality alumina refineries, modern, cost competitive aluminium smelters and one of the world’s leading ferronickel operations.

Though BHP trades as an ADR, currently, South32 will not be listed on any American exchange.

After initially falling, South32 has moved up sharply. BHP, meanwhile has moved steadily down.

South 32 has climbed in its first two days as a separate company, though not by enough to offset BHP’s fall. The value of BHP’s London-listed stock has lost £7.4bn since the split, against a market value for South 32 of £6.3bn.

Disclosure: Author holds no position in any stock mentioned