BHP to protect balance sheet after downgrade

[] – BHP Billiton was committed to maintaining its strong balance sheet “through the cycle”, the group said in a statement in response to the Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the mining group’s credit rating.

“BHP Billiton has the strongest credit rating in the sector and remains committed to
maintaining its strong balance sheet through the cycle,” it said. Its comment comes as analysts weigh up whether the firm will cut or hold its dividend payout.

Standard & Poor’s lowered BHP Billiton’s credit rating to A from A+ and have a BBB+ rating on the group’s subordinated notes which were previously rated at A-. The agency also placed BHP on “CreditWatch with negative implications’. It said it would resolve the credit watch following BHP Billiton’s interim results presentation later this month.