Friday, August 3, 2012

BHP (BHP) Writes Down $3.3 Billion

BHP Billiton (BHP) CEO Marius Kloppers announced the company has written down 3.3 billion on its gas and nickel assets.

Its gas assets in the Fayetteville shale-gas holdings of the company had a charge of $2.84 billion against it, while its Western Australia nickel sites were written down by $450 million.

The company said Klopper and petroleum business CEO Mike Yeager won't receive bonuses this year as a consequence of the writedowns. Both men requested that those actions be taken.

Companies jumping onto the shale gas bonanza have taken hard hits after the abundance of natural gas has driven the price down to 10-year lows recently.

BHP will continue to struggle with this because of the high price it paid for the gas assets, which will require a significant rebound in gas prices before it turns a profit.

The good news for BHP is the writedown was not as much as most had been looking for, coming in at the lower end of analysts' estimates, which were in a range of $3 billion to $5 billion.

Kloppers and Yeager are now moving drilling operations primarily to the Eagle Ford and Permian fields.

It is thought the company may seek to divest itself of its nickel business, but that would probably not work out well for them in a weak economic environment.

On the NYSE, BHP was trading at $67.8, up $1.78, or 2.69 percent, as of 10:33 AM EST.

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