Frequently asked questions

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  • General

    • What are the dates for the next AGM?

      ​Please refer to our Calendar.​

    • What is an Annual General Meeting?

      ​Each year, we conduct a separate Annual General Meeting (AGM) for each of our dual listed companies. All shareholders are invited to attend the AGMs and are provided with a notice describing the business to be conducted (Notice of Meeting) and a proxy form, or for those shareholders who have elected electronic delivery of Company material they will be sent an email with electronic links to AGM material and can vote online.  Please read the material sent to you to determine how you can vote and the cut-off times so your vote is recorded.

    • When are your next financial results announced?

      ​Please refer to our Calendar.​

    • Where can I find information on past BHP Billiton dividends?

      ​Details of dividends paid are available on our Dividends page.

    • What are the key dates for future dividends?

      ​BHP Billiton declares its interim dividends with its interim results announcement, usually in February each year, and its final dividend with its full year results announcement, usually in August each year. For an indication of prospective record dates, ex-dividend and payment dates, please refer to our Dividends page.

    • What is meant by 'cum-dividend', 'ex-dividend' and 'record date'?

      ​You will see or hear these terms when a company declares a dividend. 'Cum-dividend' means the shares carry the entitlement to the dividend and if purchased 'cum-dividend', the buyer will receive the dividend.

      'Ex-dividend' means without the dividend. Therefore if you see BHP Billiton's share price quoted 'ex-dividend', the dividend is earmarked for the seller, not the buyer. The market price will reflect whether the shares are 'cum' or 'ex' the dividend entitlement.

      'Record date' is the date used to determine the shareholders on the register who are entitled to receive the dividend and the number of shares on which it will be paid. Record date is the date where all changes to registration or banking details must be made for them to apply to the relevant payment.

    • What was the previous policy?

      The Group’s previous policy on dividend payments allowed shareholders to elect the currency in which they wished to receive dividend payments up to two days prior to the date on which the dividend was declared and profits announced.

      The spot rate at which the non-US dollar dividends to be paid were also advised to the market on the same day as the profit announcement, 16 days prior to the dividend record date.​

    • Currency conversion and currency elections dates were changed for dividends. Why?

      Aligning the currency conversion date with the record date (for all currencies except for South African Rand, which is aligned to the Last Date to Trade on the JSE Limited as required) enables a high level of certainty around the currency required for the dividend payment and eliminates the Group’s exposure to movements in Foreign Exchange (FX) since the number of shares on which dividends are payable (and the elected currency) is final at close of business on the record date.

      Aligning the final date to receive currency elections (currency election date) with the record date further simplifies the process.

      For the Plc South African Branch Register, as is required by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE Limited), the currency conversion date for rand is aligned with the last date to trade on JSE Limited. These dates also ensure the Group's exposure to movements in FX are eliminated.​

    • Why does BHP Billiton declare its dividends in US$?

      The US dollar, in which the majority of the Group's sales are made, most reliably records the Group's global business performance and is BHP Billiton's main reporting currency. It is, therefore, the currency in which dividends are determined. However, BHP Billiton Limited dividends are mainly paid in Australian dollars and BHP Billiton Plc dividends are mainly paid in pounds sterling to shareholders on the UK section of the register and South African rand to shareholders on the South African section of the register.​

    • Does BHP Billiton have a dividend reinvestment plan?

      BHP Billiton does not have a dividend reinvestment plan and has no present intention of introducing one.​

    • What is BHP Billiton's dividend policy?

      BHP Billiton has a progressive dividend policy. This means that the Company seeks to steadily increase or at least maintain the dividend in US dollar terms at each half yearly payment.​

    • Where do I find information regarding tax implications?

      BHP Billiton does not provide tax commentary on the trading of shares. Please seek assistance from your tax or financial adviser.​

    • What records should I keep for tax purposes?

      All shareholders, wherever they are based, should maintain records of purchases and sales (broker Contract Notes, etc). At the time of payment of each dividend, the company will provide a payment advice with all the details you require.

    • Can children hold shares in BHP Billiton?

      A shareholder relationship with any company is essentially contractual in nature. Minors (children under 18) cannot be bound contractually. Shareholders may therefore consider it is more appropriate that the shares are held by an adult on behalf of the child. For example, the holding can be designated 'Mr John M Smith <Miss Elizabeth Smith A/C>'. There are other factors to be considered when investing on behalf of a child and we recommend you seek further advice from your accountant or financial adviser.

    • How can I check the current share price?

      The share price is available on our Home page and Shareholder Information page and is updated every 20 minutes.​

    • What is the difference between BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc?

      BHP Billiton was formed in June 2001 from the merger of BHP Limited (an Australian listed company) and Billiton Plc (a UK listed company). The merger was effected by way of a dual listed companies (DLC) structure, meaning that although the companies technically continue to be separate legal entities (now renamed BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc) with separate share listings and share registers, they are managed and run as a single economic entity. The companies have a common Board of Directors and management team. Shareholders in BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc have equal economic and voting rights, as if they held shares in a single company

  • BHP Billiton Limited

    • My registered holding is in the name of a company. Can I still attend the AGM and vote?

      ​If you have provided the appropriate documentation to CIS appointing you to act on behalf of the company then you can attend the AGM as the company representative. If you have not provided the appropriate appointment documents, then contact Computershare Investor Services and request them to send you an Appointment of a Corporate Representative form. Alternatively you can download the form.

    • What if I am unable to attend the AGM?

      ​If you cannot attend, you can express your views by appointing a proxy to act on your behalf. This person will be able to attend the meeting, to speak and to vote on your behalf. Your proxy can be the Chairman of the meeting, or any other person you choose. That person need not be a shareholder of BHP Billiton.

    • Does BHP Billiton have an active share buy-back program?

      On 7 February 2007, BHP Billiton announced an increase to its capital management programme of US$10 billion to be executed through a series of buy-backs in both BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc. On the same day BHP Billiton Limited announced an off-market buy-back of BHP Billiton Limited shares with a targeted maximum of A$3.25 billion. See: BHP Billiton Announces Increased Capital Management Programme Including An Off-Market Buy-Back Of BHP Billiton Limited Shares

      BHP Billiton Limited has also repurchased shares via off-market share buy-back programs in the past.  See: BHP Billiton Successfully Completes A$2.25 Billion (US$1.6 Billion) Off-Market Share Buy-Back (April 2006) and BHP Billiton Successfully Completes A$2.272 Billion (US$1.780 Billion) Off-Market Share Buy-Back (November 2004)

      For a summary of capital management activity see: Share Buy-Back Summary

      BHP Billiton also repurchased a total of 18.82 million BHP Billiton Plc shares in a series of on-market transactions throughout April and May 2006 see: BHP Billiton Completes US$2 Billion Capital Return.

    • Can I have dividends/distributions credited to someone else's bank account?

      ​Shareholders can pay their dividend into another person's account as long as they have correctly completed the notification of the banking details to the Registrar including quotation of their SRN or HIN and the registered shareholder has signed.

    • What if I provide incorrect direct credit details?

      ​All direct credit authorities received are confirmed back to the shareholder. Please ensure you check this confirmation carefully and contact CIS immediately if incorrect.

    • How do I change my banking instructions for dividends/distribution payments?

      ​You can either provide the details to CIS quoting your SRN or HIN, name and address, new banking details and signed by all of the registered shareholders. Alternatively, you can access Computershare Investor Services’ website LINK and change your details online (you will need your SRN or HIN).

    • What happens to cheques that are not cashed?

      ​Those cheques issued by BHP Billiton Limited are paid to the Victorian State Government (Registrar of Unclaimed Money) soon after 12 months has expired from a specific dividend payment date.

      Shareholders may search the unclaimed monies register using the contact details below:

      State Revenue Office of Victoria
      www.sro.vic.gov.au
      Telephone: 13 2161

    • Can I receive replacement payment by cheque?

      ​Yes, however there is a A$20.00 replacement cheque fee (this fee does not apply to shareholders where direct crediting is not available). Alternatively your replacement payment can be credited to your nominated banking institution without a fee for the first 12 months after a payment date. After a dividend payment is greater than 12 months old, the replacement fee of A$20.00 will apply without exception.

    • Can you tell me if I have any unpresented dividend/distribution cheques?

      ​Please contact Computershare Investor Centre who can check your account for any unpresented dividend cheques. They will also notify you how to claim these dividend payments.

    • How can I receive my dividend payment?

      ​Direct crediting is encouraged for those shareholders who have the facility available (shareholders with a bank account in Australia, New Zealand, the United States or the United Kingdom). Those shareholders who do not take advantage of the direct credit facility or reside outside these countries will be paid their dividend by cheque in Australian dollars.

    • What dividends have I been paid?

      ​Go to the Shareholder Information page. You will need your SRN or HIN to access your dividend details.​

    • Can I elect to receive my dividends in currencies other than my local currency?

      ​Shareholders can elect to receive their dividends in AUD, NZD, GBP or USD. For the currency election to be valid, the payment instruction must be directed to an eligible financial institution in the country of issue of the currency. For example, Australian bank account for AUD, United Kingdom bank account for GBP, New Zealand bank account for NZD and United States bank account for USD. It is not necessary for the shareholder to have a registered address in the country of the chosen currency.

      Each shareholding account can only elect one currency for payment of dividends, and the election of that currency choice must be received prior to the dividend record date (valid currency elections will remain current for subsequent dividends or until changed by the shareholder).

      Direct crediting is encouraged for those shareholders who have the facility available (shareholders with a bank account in Australia, New Zealand, the United States or the United Kingdom). Those shareholders who do not take advantage of the direct credit facility or reside outside these countries will be paid their dividend by cheque in Australian dollars.

      Currency elections or any questions can be directed to Computershare Investor Services (within Australia 1300 656 780; outside Australia +61 (0)3 9415 4020 or contact us online at www.investorcentre.com/contact).

    • Is it possible to merge two BHP Billiton shareholdings into one?

      ​Yes, provided the registration details of both shareholdings are identical. Go to the CIS website, download and complete the form (located under Holder Amendments - Request to Consolidate Holdings), and return using the address on the form.

    • How do I transfer shares?

      ​You have two choices in transferring shares. You can transfer on market, via a stockbroker who will find a buyer for your shares. Alternatively, if you already have a buyer, you can transfer off market using a Standard Transfer Form which can be obtained from the CIS website.

    • How do I change my account details?

      Go to the CIS website and select the best option for you to effect the change to your account details.​

    • What is the balance of my holding?

      ​Go to our Online Services page. You will need your SRN or HIN to access details about the balance of your holding.

    • How do I check my shareholding details online?

      ​Go to our Online Services page. You will need your SRN or HIN to access your shareholding details.

    • Does BHP Billiton offer issuer sponsorship?

      ​Yes, issuer sponsorship is available to shareholders of BHP Billiton.

    • What are 'broker sponsored' and 'issuer sponsored' holdings?

      ​You are 'broker sponsored' after you have entered into an agreement with a stockbroker and have been allocated a Holder Identification Number (HIN) beginning with an X. If your shares are held under a broker sponsored agreement you need to notify the broker of any change of name or address, not the company or the registrar. Holding statements will be issued to you by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

      Shareholders who do not have a broker agreement are automatically sponsored by the company and hold their shares in an uncertificated form. This is called 'issuer sponsored' and you will have been given a unique Securityholder Reference Number (SRN) starting with an I.

    • Who is BHP Billiton Limited's Share Registrar?

      ​Computershare Investor Services (CIS) maintains the share register in Australia. Any enquiries regarding your shareholding can be directed to CIS.

    • On which stock exchanges is BHP Billiton Limited listed?

      ​BHP Billiton Limited has a primary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). In addition, American Depositary Shares (each representing two ordinary BHP Billiton Limited shares) evidenced by American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • BHP Billiton Plc

    • What does last date to trade mean?

      ​This is a date which is applicable within the dematerialised STRATE environment in South Africa. It is the last date on which a dematerialised holder can trade on STRATE and the buyer would qualify for the dividend.

    • What is dematerialisation?

      ​Dematerialisation is a term referring to the process whereby paper share certificates are replaced with electronic records of ownership.

    • How do I contact STRATE?

      ​Contact details for STRATE are set out below:
      STRATE Limited
      PO Box 78608
      Sandton
      South Africa
      2196
      Tel: (27 11) 759 5300
      Fax: (27 11) 759 5500
      Email: info@strate.co.za
      Website: http://www.strate.co.za

    • Who/what are STRATE and CSDPs?

      STRATE is the authorised Central Securities Depository (CSD) for the electronic settlement of all financial instruments in South Africa.

      CSDP stands for Central Securities Depository Participant. CSDPs are the only market players who can liaise directly with STRATE. The following are authorised CSDPs:

      • ABSA (ABSA Securities)
      • First National Bank
      • Nedbank - SCS Private Clients
      • Société Générale
      • Standard Bank
      • Computershare
      • Eskom
    • What do I need to do to transfer shares from the South African register to the United Kingdom register?

      Please note that South African exchange control approval will be required prior to any transfer taking place. A request to transfer your shares together with your share certificate should be sent to CIS. If your shares are held through a nominee, you should request the registered holder to provide CIS with the required documentation.

    • On which exchange are the BHP Billiton ADRs traded and under what ticker symbol?

      ​The BHP Billiton ADRs are traded on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the ticker symbol is BBL.

    • Who is the Depositary for the ADR program and how do I contact them?

      ​Citibank, N.A. acts as Depositary for the BHP Billiton ADR Program. For more information please contact:
      Citibank Shareholder Services
      P.O. Box 43077
      Providence, Rhode Island 02940-3077
      Telephone: 1-877-248-4237 (1-877-CITIADR) (toll-free within US)
      1-781-575-4555 (Outside U.S.)
      Fax enquiries: 1-201-324-3284
      Web enquiries: citibank@shareholders-online.com
      Website: www.citi.com/dr

    • How many BHP Billiton Plc Ordinary shares represent an American Depositary Share (ADS)?

      ​BHP Billiton Plc has an American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program under which each American Depositary Share (ADS) represents two underlying BHP Billiton US$0.50 ordinary shares held by the Depositary.

    • Can I revert to receiving paper documents?

      ​Yes. Your election to receive electronic communications stands until revoked. You may change your election to receive electronic communications at any time by accessing our website and registering the change following the link provided under "Can I receive company communications electronically rather than in paper form?"

    • What if I change my email address?

      ​ If you change your email address please remember to inform CIS. Their contact details may be obtained by following the link provided under "Who is BHP Billiton's Share Registrar?"

      South African shareholders who hold shares through STRATE should liaise directly with their CSDP or broker.

    • What about viruses?

      ​Every reasonable precaution will be taken to ensure that our communications with you are virus-free. It is possible, however, that email communications may nevertheless contain a computer virus (for example, through email messages being tampered with by a third party). Neither BHP Billiton nor CIS accept liability for any loss or damage arising from the opening or use of any email or attachment we send to you. Any electronic communications received by BHP Billiton, including the filing of electronic proxy forms, which contain a virus will not be accepted.

    • What happens if you cannot contact me by email?

      ​Please note that BHP Billiton cannot be held responsible for a failure in transmission beyond its control and that its obligation to you is satisfied when it transmits an electronic message. However, when a notice of transmission failure is received, CIS will make two more attempts to contact you by email. If these attempts fail, then CIS will contact you at your last known postal address to let you know that the emails have failed. You will be asked to confirm your contact details.

    • Who will have access to my email address?

      ​BHP Billiton is required to make certain information from its share register available for public inspection but this does not include email addresses made available for electronic communications. Email addresses will not be used for any purpose other than communicating with you as a shareholder.

    • What equipment do I need to receive electronic communications from BHP Billiton?

      ​You will need a computer with internet access and web browser software (Netscape 4, Internet Explorer 4 or later versions). BHP Billiton does not charge you for this facility, although under the agreement with your internet provider you may incur costs for the time you are on line.

    • Which documents will be made available electronically?

      ​Annual Report and Accounts Notices of shareholders' meetings. Please note that large documents are made available in small sections for ease of downloading.

    • Can I receive company communications electronically rather than in paper form?

      ​Yes. You can elect to receive electronic communications by registering online. Go to Shareholder Services (Certificated holders only). Under Provide Your Email Address go to either Plc – UK Principal Register or Plc – SA Branch Register then select 'Provide email address for electronic communication' and follow the prompts. You will need to have your SRN handy.

      Once registered, an email will be sent to you each time documents are published on our website to alert you to their availability. A link will be provided in the email to the site where you can access and download the documents.

    • My registered holding is in the name of a company. Can I still attend the AGM and vote?

      ​If you have provided to CIS appropriate documentation appointing you to act on behalf of the company then you can attend the AGM as the corporate representative. Please contact the company in whose name the shares are registered and ask them to appoint you as a corporate representative or proxy.

    • What if I am unable to attend the AGM?

      ​If you cannot attend, you can express your views by appointing a proxy or proxies to act on your behalf. This person will be able to attend the meeting, to speak and to vote on your behalf. Your proxy can be the Chairman of the meeting, or any other person(s) you choose. They need not be a shareholder of BHP Billiton Plc.

    • Can I have dividends/distributions credited to someone else's bank account?

      Shareholders on the Principal Register in the United Kingdom can pay their dividend into another person's account as long as they have completed and sent CIS a signed notification of the third party's banking details. You should also quote your SRN.

      Shareholders on the Branch Register in South Africa may not have their dividends/distributions credited to a third party except where:

      • shares are placed under curatorship;
      • the shareholder is a company which has been liquidated; or
      • the shareholder has deceased.
    • What if I provide incorrect direct credit details?

      ​All direct credit authorities received are confirmed back to the shareholder. Please ensure you check this confirmation carefully and contact the share registrar immediately if incorrect.

    • How do I change my banking instructions for dividends/distribution payments?

      You can provide the details to CIS quoting your SRN, name and address, new banking details and signed by all of the registered shareholders. Alternatively, in the case of shareholders on the Principal Register in the United Kingdom, you may access the relevant form at www.computershare.com.

      Additionally, shareholders on the Branch Register in South Africa must submit a bank statement certified by their bank, and an original certified copy of their identity document. The additional documentation is required under the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 (Act No.38 of 2001) (FICA) policy in South Africa.

    • What happens to cheques that are not cashed?

      ​In accordance with the Articles of Association of BHP Billiton, all unclaimed dividends are held until claimed for a period of 12 years from the date on which the dividend was due for payment. Thereafter the payment is forfeited and reverts to BHP Billiton.

    • I have lost my dividend cheque. How do I obtain a replacement cheque?

      ​You need to advise CIS immediately and confirm by post that the cheque has been lost/stolen after which a stop will be placed on the cheque and a new cheque issued.

    • Can you tell me if I have any unpresented dividend/distribution cheques?

      ​You will need to contact CIS who can check your account for any unpresented dividend cheques. They will also notify you how to claim these dividend payments.

    • What dividends have I been paid?

      ​Your dividend details are available online from CIS. Go to Plc (UK Register) or Plc (SA Register). You will need your SRN handy to access your dividend dates.

    • Can I elect to receive my dividends in currencies other than my local currency?

      Shareholders on the UK section of the register will receive their dividends in pounds sterling unless they make an election to receive them in US dollars. Shareholders on the South African Branch Register will receive their dividends in South African rand only.

      Dividends paid in US dollars can only be paid direct to a US dollar bank account held within the United States of America. Alternatively, if the shareholder does not have a bank account in the United States they may elect to receive their dividend in US dollars by way of a US dollar cheque to their registered address.

      Shareholders may only elect to receive US dollars on the entirety of their holding and the election of that currency choice must be received prior to the dividend record date (valid currency elections will remain current for subsequent dividends or until changed by the shareholder).

      Should a UK Plc shareholder wish to receive their dividend in US dollars, or cancel a current US dollar election, they should complete and return a Currency Election Form, which may be obtained from CIS by telephoning +44 (0)844 472 7001.

    • Can my dividend be paid directly to my bank or building society account?

      ​Direct crediting is encouraged for shareholders who are able to take advantage of this facility. By receiving your dividend this way you avoid:

      • the risk of a cheque being lost or delayed in the post;

      • the inconvenience of having to take or send your cheque to your bank or building society or the risk of your cheque being mislaid or accidentally destroyed.

      • Additionally, you will help us to reduce costs associated with producing cheques, which is to the benefit of all shareholders.

      The tax vouchers confirming your dividend payment will continue to be sent to your registered address.

      You will need to complete and return a dividend mandate form which can be obtained from CIS or, in the case of shareholders on the Principal Register in the United Kingdom, by completing the dividend mandate form available at www.computershare.com.

    • My share certificate has been lost/stolen. How do I obtain a replacement share certificate?

      ​You will need to complete a letter of indemnity which can be obtained from CIS. Once the form has been completed it should be returned to CIS who will issue a new certificate. A fee may be charged for this service.

    • I have more than one share certificate. Is it possible to combine them into one certificate?

      ​Yes, if the shares are of the same class. Please write to CIS with details of the holdings you wish to consolidate. Their contact details may be obtained by following the links provided under "Who is BHP Billiton's Share Registrar?" above.

    • How do I transfer shares?

      ​Although this can be a simple process, there could be certain local requirements that need to be determined. Please contact the relevant CIS office quoting your SRN.

    • Can I check the balance of my holding online?

      ​Yes. Go to Investor Information for the UK Register (if you are a shareholder registered on the Principal Register in the United Kingdom) or Investor Information for the SA Register (if you are a shareholder registered on the Branch Register in South Africa). You will need your SRN to check the details of your holding.

    • Can I check the contact details you have registered for me online?

      Yes. Any enquiries regarding your shareholding can be directed to CIS - see Investor Information for the UK Register (if you are a shareholder registered on the Principal Register in the United Kingdom) and Investor Information for the SA Register (if you are a shareholder registered on the Branch Register in South Africa). You will need your Shareholder Reference Number (SRN) to view the contact details registered for you.

    • How do I change my contact details if they are incorrect?

      ​If any of the contact details we hold for you are incorrect, follow the instructions to obtain the appropriate form, complete and return it to CIS.

    • Who is BHP Billiton Plc's Share Registrar?

      ​Computershare Investor Services (CIS) is BHP Billiton Plc's Registrar and maintains the Principal Register in the United Kingdom and the Branch Register in South Africa. Any enquiries regarding your shareholding can be directed to CIS - see Shareholder Information for shareholders registered on the Principal Register in the United Kingdom and for shareholders registered on the Branch Register in South Africa.​

    • On which stock exchanges is BHP Billiton Plc listed?

      ​BHP Billiton Plc has a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange (UK) and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (South Africa). In addition, American Depositary Shares (each representing two ordinary BHP Billiton Plc shares) evidenced by American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), trade on the New York Stock Exchange.