By Steve Goldstein
BHP Group plc kept the FTSE 100 in the green on Tuesday, after the mining giant set out a plan to consolidate its two classes of shares into a single structure.
The proposed plan would unify BHP Group into the Australian company in a one-for-one swap. That sent the London-listed shares /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP -0.27% /zigman2/quotes/202855126/composite BBL -0.11% up by 7%. U.S.-listed shares of BHP Billiton Ltd /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.12% slumped 6%.
BHP also announced sweeping plans to merge its oil and gas division with Woodside Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL -1.76% while investing billions in potash. “The market is clearly excited about the move and while investors are set to get shares in the combined venture rather than an immediate cash payout, this will give them the option of selling the shares should they choose and realizing value that way,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
“BHP has a clear strategy now of focusing on future-proofed commodities which are part of the transition away from fossil fuels or in other words being part of the solution rather than part of the problem and it’s an approach which is winning favor from the market,” he added.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.08% rose 0.2% in afternoon trade, outperforming its major rivals in Europe.
Hotel operators Whitbread /zigman2/quotes/207954631/delayed UK:WTB -2.89% and InterContinental Hotels /zigman2/quotes/202865596/delayed UK:IHG -0.47% each fell 2% on coronavirus concerns, as banks dropped on the decline in bond yields.
Plus500 /zigman2/quotes/205613240/delayed UK:PLUS -0.11% was the top gaining midcap, as the U.K.-listed Israeli trading platform operator announced a new stock buyback and said revenue would be “significantly ahead” of analyst estimates. Its first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell 48% on a 39% drop in revenue, as it benefited from a surge in trading during lockdowns.