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BHP sticks with spending strategy, Rio eyes M&A amid coronavirus shock


“It’s helped us to drive high quality returns and growth, so it’s not going anywhere,” he said.

BHP, the world’s largest listed miner, said in April that spending in the 2021 financial year would be lower than its original guidance of $US8 billion ($12.4 billion) due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Henry also said BHP could act on the right M&A opportunity but focus is on organic growth. He said the company is on track to cut spending on overheads by more than $US500 million by 2021, relative to last financial year.

At the same conference, the chief executive of rival Rio Tinto , Jean-Sébastien Jacques said he saw more potential acquisition opportunities in the current environment.

“We do also see the potential for new opportunities to emerge,” Jacques said in a speech at the conference, but cautioned that the pandemic would harm GDP growth and trade, which are key drivers for mining.

“We are keeping a watching brief on M&A. Right now, the market is finding it difficult to value companies and the COVID-19 recovery pathway is not clear,” he said.

Rio chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques says the company has a "watching brief" on M&A.

Rio chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques says the company has a “watching brief” on M&A.Credit:Simon Dawson

Prices for iron ore, which is mined by both Rio and BHP, have been relatively resilient and helped boost profits in both firms due to robust demand from top consumer China.


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