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BHP may sell SA coal unit

One of the assorted
facilities of Potash
Corporation of
Saskatchewan Inc
Melbourne, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 October 2010 – BHP Billiton Limited “’ the world’s largest mining company “’ could be selling its South African coal unit as part of a plan to sell up to US$33 billion (R224 billion) of non-core assets, should its takeover bid for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. succeed.

Revealing this in a research report published here, Deutsche Bank AG analysts led by Paul Young said: “The sale of smaller assets would simplify the group’s asset portfolio once more, and allow management to focus their energies on core divisions.”

The report went on to say that BHP could sell its South African coal unit, U.S. coal unit, the Nickel West unit, the Ekati diamond operation, Richard Bay Minerals, South African aluminum smelters and Potash Corporation’s nitrogen and phosphate assets. This would cut debt to below US$10 billion (R68 billion) and improve the group’s earnings before interest and tax margin by as much as 7%.

BHP has offered US$40 billion (R272 billion) in cash, or US$130 (R884) a share, to buy Potash Corporation, which has rejected the offer and started talks with third parties.