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BHP to create new global mining company

Mining giant BHP Billiton has said it intends to demerge some raw material assets into a new company. The move would allow the world's largest mining company to focus on its most profitable business.

BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world, said Tuesday it would spin-off some of its less profitable assets into a new company that would allow it to focus on top-tier commodities.

The new entity, to be named NewCo, would include aluminum, coal, manganese, nickel and silver assets - the bulk of which were brought in by London-listed Billiton when it merged with Australia-based BHP in 2001.

NewCo would reportedly have a value of $14 billion (10.5 billion euros).

"For over a century, BHP Billiton has progressively reshaped its business to maintain its industry leadership," BHP chairman Jac Nasser said. "We believe the proposed demerger, if implemented, will accelerate the simplification of the Group's portfolio, provide investors with choice and unlock value in both companies."

He added that company shareholders will vote on the plan once the "necessary approvals are in place."

The mining giant said it would now be able to dedicate itself entirely to its core operations - iron ore, copper, petroleum, other forms of coal and potash, a mineral used in fertilizer. The value of some of these resources has risen on booming demand in China.

The announcement came as BHP Billiton posted a 23.2 percent jump in annual net profit to $13.83 billion. It was the first time the company had logged an increase in yearly profits since 2011.

cjc/uhe (Reuters, AFP)