BHP mulls $20 billion demerger: report

Mining giant mulls spinning off aluminium and nickel assets to create new company.

BHP Billiton says it continues to study structural options to simplify its portfolio after a media report said it was considering a demerger.

The major miner is mulling spinning off non-core assets such as aluminium, nickel and bauxite and could create a new $20 billion resources company, The Australian Financial Review reports.

According to the newspaper, investment bank Goldman Sachs is advising a team considering strategic options for non-core businesses, including asset sales or a demerger.

The project has been running for more than a year without a conclusion and no final decision has been made, the AFR reports.

But the work has "gathered momentum" with senior executives leaning towards spinning off a company with listings on stock exchanges in Australia, London and South Africa, although talks about assets to be included continue, according to the AFR.

The miner released a statement noting "recent speculation" about its portfolio.

"We continue to actively study the next phase of simplification, including structural options, but will only pursue options that maximise value for BHP Billiton shareholders," the miner said.

"Any course of action remains subject to detailed review and an assessment of alternatives.

"As we have said previously, the simplification of our portfolio is a priority and is something we have pursued for several years."

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