D-day looms for Nickel West

BHP has long made clear that its historic Nickel West nickel unit is non-core and that at some point it will be divested, writes Barry FitzGerald.

D-day looms for Nickel West D-day looms for Nickel West D-day looms for Nickel West D-day looms for Nickel West D-day looms for Nickel West

Eddy Haegel

As recently as November last year, BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie again removed any doubt on the subject.

"We are just finding the right time in the market to offload Nickel West," Mackenzie said.

Well, after listening to the presentation by Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel to Diggers & Dealers on Monday afternoon, it is a safe to suggest that divestment day, or D-day, is now close at hand.

Just when BHP triggers the mandate for Goldman Sachs to find a buyer remains to be seen. But most observers are suggesting the trigger will be pulled after BHP's US$10.8 billion exit from the US shale business is completed in October, meaning it will be calendar 2019 when the Nickel West exit will get down to the nitty-gritty.

Now none of that came ...