BHP has announced that it will return $US10.4 billion ($14.7 million) to shareholders at a price of 38 cents per share.
This money includes $US5.2 billion in BHP Billiton Limited shares as an off-market buyback at a 14 per cent discount and $US5.2 billion as a special fully franked dividend, payable in January 2019.
This means that BHP will have returned $US21 billion to its shareholders over the last two years.
“Consistent with our capital allocation framework, the Board has carefully considered how best to return the net proceeds to our shareholders,” said BHP chairman Ken MacKenzie.
“We believe that the off-market buy-back and special dividend program announced today will return significant value to all our shareholders, allowing the entire BHP global shareholder base to participate, both directly and indirectly, in the shareholder return program.”
BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said that the company was honouring a commitment to distribute the net proceeds from the recent disposal of its onshore US assets, most recently Fayettesville in Arkansas.
“We made a commitment that all the net proceeds from the disposal of our onshore US assets would be returned to shareholders and we are honouring that commitment now that the sale transactions have been completed,” he said.
The company has also sold Haynesville (in Arkansas), Eagle Ford and Permian (both in Texas) for $US10.8 billion ($14.9 billion) in total as an attempt to divest its US onshore interests. In the 2018 financial year, these four assets produced a combined volume of 58.8 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Results of the off-market buyback are expected to be announced on December 17 and the special dividend is to be paid out on January 30 next year.