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BHP chairman Jac Nasser (left) with chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.

BHP pushes demerger at London AGM

BHP Billiton bosses have made a strong sales pitch regarding the company's proposed demerger, telling shareholders in London they'd benefit from the next step in the big miner's "evolution".

Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie reportedly told the London annual general meeting yesterday that BHP would achieve a 16 per cent production boost over two years to the end of the 2015 financial year.

He said that, by the end of the 2017 financial year, BHP was targeting at least $US3.5 billion ($A3.79 billion) of additional annualised productivity gains beyond those already reported.

BHP revealed in August it's spinning off some of its aluminium, coal, manganese, nickel and silver assets into a new company dubbed NewCo.

The company currently has 41 assets worldwide of which 19 generate a large percentage of earnings.

Chairman Jac Nasser told shareholders iron ore, coal, copper, petroleum and potentially potash would be the building blocks of BHP's future.

Under the proposed demerger, which is subject to regulatory approval and a shareholder vote in the first half of 2015, he said there would be benefits for both companies and all shareholders.

The company said the split was another step in our evolution and demonstrates our willingness and ability to continually reshape our business.

Mr Nasser told shareholders BHP expected demand for its commodities to remain strong particularly in China.

"In China the property sector is slowing but other sectors are showing resilience," he said, adding growth was still expected to come in above 7 per cent.

"In the mid-term the rate of growth will see a gradual decline from current levels as China's economy continues to mature.

"(But) Chinese economic activity is still expected to grow faster than developed economies for the foreseeable future."

Meanwhile, BHP has made a $20 million donation over the next five years to the Telethon Kids Institute, with the first annual instalment of $4 million to kick-start Telethon tomorrow night.

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