12/11/2014 - 09:44

BHP scraps Nickel West sale

12/11/2014 - 09:44

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BHP Billiton officially confirmed today it has scrapped the sale of its Nickel West business in Western Australia "at this time" after failing to attract a buyer at an acceptable price.

BHP scraps Nickel West sale
BHP Billiton's Nickel West operation.

BHP Billiton officially confirmed today it has scrapped the sale of its Nickel West business in Western Australia "at this time" after failing to attract a buyer at an acceptable price.

The business was put on the market six months ago with BHP believed to have put a broad $500 million to $800 million valuation on it.

BHP said in a statement it had been unable to complete a sale on an acceptable basis, and it would only pursue options that maximised value for shareholders.

Nickel West would remain in the company's portfolio as a non-core asset "at this time" and BHP would continue to operate the business to realise its full value, the company said.

“The focus of Nickel West will remain on delivering safe and efficient production whilst pursuing every opportunity to maximise productivity, to reduce operating costs and increase free cash flow,” Nickel West asset president Paul Harvey said.

The business employs about 1,800 people and includes three mines at Mt Keith, Cliffs and Leinster and associated concentrators, the Kalgoorlie smelter, the Kambalda concentrator and the Kwinana refinery.

There had been speculation BHP would include Nickel West in its NewCo spin-off of smaller assets due to occur in 2015, but that is not currently the plan.

BHP shares were 2 per cent lower at $33.47 per share at 9:45am.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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