BHP Billiton Spinoff Will Be Named ‘South32’

BHP Billiton has announced that the new company it intends to create through a proposed demerger of a number of its assets will be called “South32.” The plans for the demerger were originally announced in August 2014.

The demerged company will include BHP Billiton’s aluminum business, including the Worsley alumina refinery in Western Australia and the Hillside, South Africa, and Mozal, Mozambique, aluminum smelters; Illawarra Coal in New South Wales, Australia; manganese mines in Australia’s Northern Territory and South Africa; Manganese alloy producers in Tasmania, Australia and South Africa; the Cannington silver-lead-zinc mine in Queensland, Australia; and the Cerro Matoso laterite nickel mine and ferro-nickel smelter in Colombia.

The announcement of the new company’s name makes note of the fact that the majority of these assets are located in the Southern Hemisphere and that the company’s planned regional centers in Australia and South Africa are linked by the 32nd parallel south line of latitude. The new company’s name, South32, represents this geographic footprint.

Graham Kerr, CEO-elect of South32, said, “The naming of South32 is a major step in the setup of our company. Our heritage and the places in which we operate are an important part of our identity. While South32 is grounded in the Southern Hemisphere, we will retain our global reach and ambition as we seek to exceed the expectations of a global shareholder base.”

Kerr said that a wide range of options had been considered when selecting a name for the company, including suggestions from employees across BHP Billiton. “I am proud to say that a suggestion from one of the new company’s employees was the basis for the name we have selected as our identity,” he said.

BHP Billiton also announced two appointments to the South32 management team. Ricus Grimbeek has been appointed president and COO-elect Australia and will be based at South32’s headquarters in Perth. Grimbeek is currently president of Worsley Alumina. Mike Fraser has been appointed president and COO-elect Africa and will be based in the South32’s Johannesburg office. Fraser is currently BHP Billiton’s president of human resources and a member of its group management committee.

BHP Billiton expects to release full details of the proposed demerger in March and to hold a shareholder vote on the proposal in May.

As featured in Womp 2015 Vol 01 -