Anglo-American operator BHP held its annual general meeting (AGM) in London yesterday and combative US hedge fund company Elliot Management, which owns 5 per cent of the miner, was in attendance.
A key activist investor in BHP that excels in the purchase of distressed securities, Elliot has been placing pressure on BHP to make changes in order to combat shareholder losses caused primarily by US shale investments.
In response to a question regarding Elliot Management’s influence, Ken MacKenzie stated that “MacKenzie and Mackenzie” were in charge, a potential veiled barb at the expense of the renowned vulture capitalists.
Turning to the company’s fortunes over the last year, Canadian-born Melburnian Ken MacKenzie presented his inaugural AGM speech at the QEII Centre in Westminster.
He praised his predecessor Jacques Nasser, who stepped down after seven years as chairman, and praised Scottish chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie for his emphasis on increased company focus since starting in the role in 2013, particularly through the realm of divestitures.
Media conjecture regarding Mackenzie’s potential replacement as CEO would appear to be unfounded for now, or at the very least, BHP is presenting a solid face for its shareholders.
“There are areas with potential to be better, and areas we can build on,” Ken MacKenzie explained.
“We must maintain a relentless focus on driving value and returns, and we must never lose sight of this commitment to our shareholders particularly in the context of the commodity cycle.”
“The deliberate focus on simplification and productivity has allowed us to achieve great results in FY2017,” added Andrew Mackenzie during his speech.
Mackenzie also expressed excitement over its long-term projects such as the Spence Growth Option and Mad Dog Phase 2, key examples of the company’s push in high-return, low-risk investments as part of BHP’s productivity agenda.