BHP chief Kloppers to forgo bonus


BHP BILLITON’S Marius Kloppers, the best-paid chief executive among London-traded mining companies, will forgo his bonus after announcing $3.3 billion in charges on gas and nickel assets.

The value of BHP’s Fayetteville shale-gas holdings in Arkansas will be cut by $2.84 billion and its nickel sites in Western Australia by $450 million, the Melbourne-based company said yesterday.

BHP, which paid $4.75 billion for the Fayetteville assets last year, said Kloppers and petroleum business chief executive Mike Yeager won’t get paid a bonus for fiscal 2012 at their request.

BHP, which spent $20 billion in 2011 buying the shale deposits, joins BG Group and Encana in writing down the value of the assets after natural gas prices fell to a 10-year low this year.

Kloppers’ decision to not take a bonus follows a similar gesture by Rio Tinto chief Tom Albanese and chief financial officer Guy Elliott after Rio booked an $8.9 billion one-time charge on the value of its aluminum unit. BHP’s Kloppers (49), who was appointed chief executive in 2007, was paid a total of $11.6 million in salary, benefits and bonuses in the 2011 fiscal year. – (Bloomberg)