SYDNEY (Reuters) - BHP Billiton, the world's largest miner, reported a surge in underlying full-year profits on Tuesday and said it would exit its underperforming U.S. Shale oil and gas business, pleasing disgruntled shareholders who had called for a sale.
The Anglo-Australian mining giant, which is under pressure from U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management to rethink its investment in oil and boost shareholder returns, was buoyed by a recovery in industrial commodities markets.
Facing calls from some shareholders to dispose of the shale business it acquired at the height of the oil boom, the miner said it was "actively pursuing options to exit."
Fund managers including Elliott and Tribeca have been agitating for shale's divestment, along with higher shareholder returns and the elimination of dual-structured Australia and London stock listings.
He reiterated BHP's commitment to its conventional petroleum business that includes operations in the Gulf of Mexico, saying there were opportunities to make a lot of money over the next couple of decades.
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