Activist investor Elliott raises its stake in BHP Billiton to ramp up pressure for change

Courtney Goldsmith
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BHP Billiton Announces Record Financial Results
Elliott said its increased shareholding makes it "well placed" to hold BHP accountable (Source: Getty)

Elliott Advisors upped the pressure on global mining giant BHP Billiton as it revealed it has increased its stake in the company to five per cent.

The activist investor has campaigned for change at BHP by pressuring the company to exit US shale and review its petroleum business, enhance returns to shareholders and unify its dual-listed corporate structure.

In April, when Elliott launched its campaign, it held a 4.1 per cent "economic interest" in BHP's London-listed shares, and it later said that increased to 4.5 per cent.

The US-based hedge fund today said BHP appears to be progressing in a "smarter more value-generative way of conducting business", which it supports and encourages.

"Recent statements by the company give us confidence that chairman-elect Ken MacKenzie will heed shareholders’ calls to take constructive steps to enhance value for BHP and its owners."

MacKenzie will replace Jac Nasser as chairman from September, and Elliott said the election of a new chairman was an "opportunity for action".

Elliott said:

With new leadership, shareholders fully expect the true value of their company to be unlocked – something which we are confident BHP’s chairman-elect has firmly in mind as he takes the reins.

At the same time, our increased shareholding leaves us well placed to monitor BHP’s progress and hold it accountable for delivering results.

FTSE 100-listed BHP's shares were up 1.98 per cent to 1,367p in morning trading.

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