Billiton name to disappear from BHP

BHP ditching 'Billiton' in $10 million rebranding move

Elliott has also unpicked much of BHP's rationale for rejecting its Shareholder Value Unlock Plan proposals, exposing flawed and misleading claims from BHP management on the supposed costs of proposed unification measures, created to defend an entrenched "do nothing" approach.

Activist investor Elliott Advisors has called for an independent review of BHP Billiton's petroleum business as it continues its campaign to make sweeping changes to the world's biggest mining company.

Mackenzie said: "Our path is deliberate, with value and returns at the centre of everything we do".

BHP has said it would review the plans and respond.

BHP spent ~$20B buying USA shale assets earlier in the decade and has since written off more than half the value of the acquisitions, and Mackenzie admits "the acquisitions that took us into this business were poorly timed, that we paid too high a price".

He said BHP Billiton's focused petroleum exploration program has an unrisked value of over US$20 billion, close to a quarter of which sits in low to medium risk prospects to be tested in the next two years. It's because BHP's petroleum business looks well suited to a spinoff, and the more BHP resists, the more attractive its oil wells become.

The activist investor harrying BHP Billiton has claimed "deep-rooted shareholder support" among fellow investors despite backtracking on a key demand.

Speaking Tuesday at a conference sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the BHP umbrella was wide, but discipline would drive value forward.

The fund manager today also took aim at BHP's use of a Singapore marketing subsidiary to try to reduce tax liabilities in Australia, commonly known as a Singapore tax sling.

In its latest attack, Elliott also criticised BHP, which is listed in the United Kingdom and Australia, for having a "do nothing" approach. Instead of taking offence, BHP could accept Elliott's challenge, invite bidders for its oil business, and know that it is doing so from a position of strength.

The logical next step would be an in-depth, open and timely independent strategic review of the business, Elliott said.

Its share price has fallen since Elliott launched its attack in April and the London stock is down almost 9 percent since the start of the year.

Sources said Elliott boss Paul Singer was not present in the meeting, but several members of his Hong Kong-based team were in attendance. Mackenzie said technology programs to improve safety, lower costs and unlock resource with an unrisked value of up to USA $12 billion were among the most capital efficient options in the portfolio.

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