South32 debuts on ASX

BHP Billiton’s demerged company South32 has debuted on the ASX for $2.13 a share, giving the miner a market capitalisation of $11.3 billion.

This makes South32 the third largest miner in Australia behind BHP and Rio Tinto.

BHP shareholders will receive one share in South32 for every BHP share.

South32 chief executive Graham Kerr described South32 as "Australia's biggest start-up" and says he isn’t unhappy about the company’s debut share price.

"What I will focus on is the things I can control, the safety, the volume, the costs, telling the investors the story and the investors will put the appropriate price on the stock," Kerr said.

Earlier this month, BHP shareholders voted in favour of the demerger which saw the creation of the new company.

More than 98 per cent of shareholders backed the historic move which saw South32 take on BHP’s unwanted assets.

This includes its Illawarra and South African coal mines as well as a number of aluminium, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc operations leaving BHP to focus on what it calls its five pillars of iron ore, copper, coal, potash, and oil.

BHP shares had fallen by close to 7 per cent by midday to $30.39 as the stock adjusted to the demerger.

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