SYDNEY: Miner BHP Billiton Monday announced it would drop the name Billiton in a re-branding exercise to build its standing as a major Australian company rather than a multinational giant.
The world’s biggest miner’s Australian roots stretch back to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company which began operations in the Outback in 1885.
It opened head offices in Melbourne the same year, but became BHP Billiton in a merger with the South African company that bore that name in 2001.
Chief external affairs officer Geoff Healy said a new “Think Big” advertising campaign was designed to demonstrate the important role BHP plays in the Australian economy and community.
“The advertisements will talk about the importance of our Australian heritage, our contribution and our commitment to communities where we operate. The campaign will focus on what people can and should expect of us,” he said.
“In launching Think Big, we will take the opportunity to change our logo and move to a brand that Australians have known us by for generations -– BHP.
“This abbreviated simple expression of our organisation is used colloquially around the world.”
BHP is among the world’s top producers of major commodities including iron ore, metallurgical coal, copper and uranium, along with oil, gas and coal.
The rebranding comes at a sensitive time for the company, with US-based hedge fund Elliott Advisors, a significant shareholder, pushing for a restructure of the business, arguing as much as 50 percent more value in the stock could be unlocked.
Elliott wants to dissolve the company’s costly dual-listed structure, with assets transferred to a new company to be incorporated and listed in Britain.
BHP bosses have rejected the proposal and Treasurer Scott Morrison this month warned removing the miner from the Australian Stock Exchange was not in the national interest and would breach the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act.