BHP’s Nickel West sale attracts big-name bidders

Speculation is mounting that the sale of BHP Billiton’s Nickel West assets is not far away as six potential bidders take a closer look at the business.

According to The Australian Financial Review, Glencore, MMG, X2 Resources, Trafigura, Sherritt International and Jinchuan Group have all opted in to the due diligence process, with BHP keen to have any deal finalised by the year’s end.

BHP confirmed plans to sell its Nickel West in May, with analysts predicting the business will fetch an $800 million price tag.

This includes the sale of the Mt Keith, Cliffs and Leinster mines and associated infrastructure with the Kalgoorlie smelter, Kambalda concentrator, and the Kwinana refinery also up for grabs.

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has said simplifying the company’s product portfolio was a “priority”.

BHP has previously said that a portfolio focused on major iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum assets would be part of its four pillar company, with everything else subject to structural changes.

This leaves aluminium, nickel and bauxite and zinc exposed to what BHP calls the next “phase of simplification”.

Meanwhile, IFM Investors are reportedly looking to invest in a partial sale of BHP’s port and rail assets in the Pilbara.

AFR reports a minority stake in the established infrastructure of Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and BHP is being targeted by IFM chief Brett Himbury.

"We will also consider the opportunity to invest alongside world-class operators to provide capital for greenfield infrastructure investment," Himbury said.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.