May 15, 2017 - BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner is rebranding, changing its name back to just BHP from this week.
The company is rolling out a $10m advertising campaign that includes television ads and a new slogan, “Think Big”, to facilitate the change.
“We started working on this 18 months ago. We realized we had to start by telling people what BHP Billiton is and what we do,” the chief external affairs officer, Geoff Healy, said.
The miner started out life in 1885 as the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, or BHP, and retained that name until its 2001 merger with Anglo-Dutch mining company Billiton Plc.
The merged business continues to be listed in both London and Australia, while its shares are also traded on stock exchanges in the US and South Africa.
The rebranding comes at an eventful time for the resources giant. Activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors has launched a public campaign over the last month, calling for a significant restructure of BHP Billiton’s operations, by merging the UK and Australian entities into a single London-listed company and spinning off its US petroleum business for a New York listing.
BHP has also suffered financial and reputational damage from the November 2015 dam disaster at its Samarco joint venture in Brazil that killed 19 people and led to widespread environmental damage.
Healy denied any link between the rebranding and recent developments. “The timing now is good but we don’t look at it as an event. This has been in the works for many months,” he said. “This is a clean brand change for the company.”
He said the company had conducted surveys to gauge the response among investors in London and South Africa, and the research supported the final decision.
The company is changing all its significant branding from Monday, including its well-known four-blob logo, but has no immediate plans to formally change its listed name.
“All that will happen gradually, in due course, when it makes sense to do it,” Healy told reporters.