BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) is one of the world's five-largest companies by market capitalization. The broad business interests of BHP make the company look like a single-stock commodity ETF. BHP is a global mining and energy production concern. The company's business divisions include aluminum production, iron ore mining, base metals like lead, copper and zinc, coal mining including energy and metallurgical coal, alloy metals like manganese and nickel, diamond mines, and oil and gas drilling and production.
BHP Billiton is a dual-listed company with separate headquarters in Australia and the UK, with the two companies working and reporting as one. U.S. investors can choose from ADRs of the Australia listing, BHP Billiton (BHP) or the ADRs of UK-listed BHP Billiton (BBL).
The two stocks will post identical financial results and pay the same dividend. Over the last several years BBL shares have slightly lagged BHP in the U.S. ADRs. The share price difference is due to an interaction of three currencies. BHP and BBL have equal values when converting between Aussie dollars and pounds sterling.
BHP issues detailed financial reports only once a year, after the company's fiscal year closes at the end of June. At the end of December, 2010 the company reported revenues for the first half of 2011 of $34.2 billion, up 39 percent over the previous year and net profits of $10.5 billion, up 71.5 percent. BHP is covered by two analysts in the United States. One estimates full year earnings at $3.96 per share and the other predicts $7.74. BHP earned $4.46 per ADR in 2010.
Under the radar
A study of hedge fund and mutual fund gurus and their holdings through reviews of quarterly 13-F filings shows BHP as a top choice for these investment managers in the mining and minerals sector.
Nevertheless, and despite being a $260 billion company, BHP Billiton has pretty low visibility in the United States. Besides being followed by just two analysts, only 3 percent of the BHP ADRs are held by institutions and just 1 percent of BBL is in institutional portfolios.
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