Frequently asked questions

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What are the dates and locations for the next Annual General Meetings?

When available, the dates and locations will be released to the stock exchanges and published on our Calendar.

What is an Annual General Meeting?

Each year, we conduct an Annual General Meeting (AGM) for both BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc. All shareholders are invited to attend and are provided with a notice describing the agenda (Notice of Meeting) and a proxy form. For shareholders who have elected to receive Company material via email, links to AGM material will be emailed prior to the meeting. Please review our Calendar for dates of the AGM.

When are your next financial results announced?

When available, the dates will be published on our Calendar.

How can I check the current share price?

The share price is available on both the BHP Billiton Home page and the Shareholder Information page .

Where can I find information on past BHP Billiton dividends?

​Details are available on the Dividends page of our website.

Where can I find information on BHP Billiton's historical bonus share issues?

Details of historical equity issues are available on the Online Services page (under “Historic company equity issues”).

What are the key dates for future dividends?

BHP Billiton determines its interim dividend at the time of its interim results announcement (usually in February each year) and its final dividend at the time of its full-year results announcement (usually in August each year). For an indication of prospective ex-dividend, record and payment dates, please refer to our Dividends page.

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

These terms relate to how a company determines a dividend.

'Cum-dividend' means the shares carry the entitlement to the dividend. If purchased 'cum-dividend', the buyer will receive the dividend.

'Ex-dividend' means that the buyer of shares is not entitled to receive a dividend. Therefore when BHP Billiton's share price is quoted 'ex-dividend', the dividend belongs to 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. The record date is the date where all changes to registration or banking details must be made for them to apply to the relevant payment.

 

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 Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE Limited) as required) enables a high level of certainty around the currency required for the dividend payment. Currency election dates also simplify the process as well as eliminating BHP Billiton’s exposure to movements in Foreign Exchange (FX) as the total liability associated with dividends (and the elected currency) are known at close of business on the record date.

Why does BHP Billiton determine its dividends in US dollars (US$)?

The US dollar, in which the majority of our sales are made, most reliably records our 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. BHP Billiton Plc dividends are paid in pounds sterling to shareholders on the UK shareholder register and South African rand to shareholders on the South African shareholder register.

What is BHP Billiton's dividend policy?

The BHP Billiton dividend policy provides a minimum 50% payout of Underlying attributable profit at every reporting period. The Board will assess, every reporting period, the ability to pay amounts additional to the minimum payment, in accordance with the capital allocation framework.

Does BHP Billiton have a dividend reinvestment plan?

BHP Billiton does not have a dividend reinvestment plan. We understand that a dividend reinvestment plan would be of interest to some of shareholders and as such we regularly review this matter.

Where do I find information regarding tax implications?

BHP Billiton does not provide tax advice. Please seek assistance from your accountant, 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 payment, the Company will provide 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.

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. Our headquarters are located in Melbourne, Australia.

Can you give me the contact details of a particular BHP Billiton employee?

No. We don’t disclose individual employee’s direct contact details. Please visit the Contact Us page if you have a question.

How can I buy/sell shares in BHP Billiton?

An individual can buy and sell shares with the assistance of a broker who is licenced to trade on any of the markets listed below. We don’t facilitate share transactions directly.

BHP Billiton Limited has a primary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Australia. BHP Billiton Plc has a premium listing on the UK Listing Authority’s Official List and its ordinary shares are admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the United Kingdom and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in South Africa. In addition, BHP Billiton Limited American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) and BHP Billiton Plc ADRs trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the United States.

 
How do I find out my historical share holdings and movements?

Please contact Computershare for information regarding your shareholdings. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page. Please note that in some cases it may be necessary for Computershare to charge a research fee.

How do I know what price I paid to purchase my shares?

Please contact Computershare for information regarding your shareholdings. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page. Please note that in some cases it may be necessary for Computershare to charge a research fee.

BHP Billiton Limited

My registered holding is in the name of a company. Can I still attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and vote?

If you have provided the appropriate documentation to Computershare appointing you to act on behalf of the company, you can attend the AGM as the company representative. If you have not provided the appropriate appointment documents, contact Computershare and request them to send you an Appointment of a Corporate Representative form. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page. Alternatively you can download the Appointment of a Corporate Representative form via the Computershare website.

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?

BHP Billiton does not currently have an active share buy-back program. All completed capital management initiatives are detailed at our Capital management program page.

Who is BHP Billiton's share registrar?

BHP Billiton’s share registrar is Computershare. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

How do I find out my cost base for taxation purposes?

Please contact Computershare for information regarding your shareholdings. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page. Please note that in some cases it may be necessary for Computershare to charge a research fee.

How do I update my shareholder details?

Please refer to the Computershare Investor Centre website to view and update your personal details. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

How do I view my shareholding and statements?

Please refer to the Computershare Investor Centre website to view and update your personal details. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

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 (Computershare) including quotation of their SRN or HIN and the registered shareholder has signed this notification. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

What if I provide incorrect direct credit details?

All direct credit authorities received are confirmed back to the shareholder by Computershare. Please check this confirmation carefully and contact Computershare if it is incorrect. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page

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

You can provide the details to Computershare quoting your SRN or HIN, name and address, new banking details and signed by all of the registered shareholders. Alternatively, you can access the Computershare Investor Centre website and change your details online (you will need your SRN or HIN) to log in or register. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

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 who can check your account for any unpresented dividend cheques. They can also notify you how to claim these dividend payments. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

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?

Please refer to the Computershare Investor Centre website to view recent dividend payments. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

You will need your SRN or HIN to login or register.

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

Shareholders can elect to receive their dividends in Australian dollars (AUD), New Zealand dollars (NZD), US dollars (USD) or Great British pounds (GBP). 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. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

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

Yes, provided the registration details of both shareholdings are identical. A Request to Consolidate Holdings is available from the Computershare website and must be completed and returned using the address on the form. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

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 Computershare website. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

How do I change my account details?

Please refer to the Computershare Investor Centre website and select the best option for you to effect the change to your account details. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

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 Security holder Reference Number (SRN) starting with an “I”.

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 (NYSE).

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 / Barclays
  • Citibank
  • RMB Custody (First National Bank)
  • Nedbank - SCS Private Clients
  • Société Générale
  • Standard Bank
  • Computershare
     
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 form and / or assistance is available from Removals@Computershare.co.za. To transfer your shares the request, together with your share certificate, should be sent to Computershare SA. If your shares are held through a nominee, you should request the registered holder (eg the bank’s CSDP) to provide Computershare SA with the required documentation.

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

BHP Billiton ADRs are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The ticker symbol for BHP Billiton Limited is BHP and for BHP Billiton Plc 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 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 contacting Computershare. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

How do I update my email address?

Please refer to the Computershare Investor Centre website and select the best option for you to effect the change to your account details. Computershare contact details are available at our Key Contacts page.

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

 

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, Computershare will make two more attempts to contact you by email. If these attempts fail, Computershare 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 (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 online.

Which documents will be made available electronically?

The Annual Report and Notice of Meetings are available on our website. 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. Please refer to the Shareholder Services (Certificated holders only) page. Below the “Under Provide Your Email Address” you will find either “Plc – UK Principal Register” or “Plc – SA Branch Register”. Select “Provide email address for electronic communication” and follow the prompts. Please note you will need to provide your SRN.

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 Computershare 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 Annual General Meeting (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 Computershare 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 is deceased.
What if I provide incorrect direct credit details?

All direct credit authorities received are confirmed back to the shareholder by Computershare. Please ensure you check this confirmation carefully and contact Computershare if incorrect. Computershare contact details are available on our Key Contacts page.

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

You can provide the details to Computershare 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 on the Computershare website.

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 Computershare 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. Computershare contact details are available on our Key Contacts page.

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

You will need to contact Computershare who can check your account for any unpresented dividend cheques. They will also notify you how to claim these dividend payments. Computershare contact details are available on our Key Contacts page.

What dividends have I been paid?

Your dividend details are available online from Computershare.

Please note that you will need to navigate to the relevant shareholder register depending on the shares you own. For example, if you own Plc shares you will need to navigate to the relevant Plc register, either the UK Register or the SA Register. 

 

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

Shareholders on the UK 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 Computershare. Computershare contact details are available on our Key Contacts page.

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.

A Dividend Confirmation will be sent to your registered address.

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

 

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 Computershare. Once the form has been completed it should be returned to Computershare 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 Computershare with details of the holdings you wish to consolidate.  Computershare contact details are available on our Key Contacts page.

How do I transfer shares?

Although this can be a simple process, there could be certain local requirements that need to be determined. Computershare contact details are available on our Key Contacts page.

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 to provide your SRN to access the details of your holding.

Can I check the contact details you have registered for me 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 to provide your SRN to access the details of your holding.

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 Computershare. Computershare contact details are available on our Key Contacts page.

Who is BHP Billiton Plc's Share Registrar?

Computershare Investor Services 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 Computershare - 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 (LSE) and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE Limited). 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 (NYSE).