Mining giant BHP Billiton share price jumps after dividend changes proposed to ensure payout to British investors

Madeline Ratcliffe
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London shares are up... but Australian shares are down (Source: Getty)

Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton's share price climbed this morning, after revealing changes to its dividend funding policy to ensure British shareholders' dividends are paid out.

The company is planning to change which funds are transferred between the Australian-listed company to the UK's plc arm, allowing it to meet its dividend requirements to its British shareholders.

Following the de-merger of South32 from BHP in May, the British entity's capital has been hit by sliding commodities prices and forex volatility, affecting its ability to pay out dividends to British investors, who account for 40 per cent of the total shareholder base.

Under the terms of the 2001 BHP and Billiton merger, dividends must be paid equally to both sets of shareholders. Australian investors are entitled to franking credits, which allow them a tax credit for tax already paid by the company.

The company, which announced a two per cent rise in dividends per share in August, said the move would not affect its ability to pay fully-franked dividends in future

The global miner will ask shareholders of both its ASX-listed and FTSE 100-listed companies to vote on the proposed changes. The London AGM is in October, while Australians can vote at their meeting in November.

Shares in jointly-listed BHP Billiton were up 2.99 per cent at pixel time in London, but closed down 4.44 per cent in Australia.

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