A PROPOSED BHP Billiton spinoff could be listed on the London Stock Exchange in a surprise back flip from the mining giant aimed at placating shareholders.

The planned demerger would create a new entity – referred to as NewCo – incorporating BHP’s aluminium, coal, manganese, nickel and silver assets.

Under the initial proposal, NewCo was to have its primary listing on the ASX and a second inward listing in Johannesburg. But in a move to appease shareholders, BHP chairman Jacques Nasser last month announced the company was looking at an additional London listing.

“Since the announcement we have been able to engage extensively with investors and other stakeholders…we have been pleased by the support for the demerger and the level of interest investors have shown in the new company,” he said. “Based on this, we are now assessing a potential standard listing in London for the new company.”

On the day of the original NewCo announcement, BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said the company would not pursue a London listing because
of its cost and complexity.

Mr Nasser said the engagement process was still underway and the board would make a decision on the demerger once government, taxation, regulatory and other third-party approvals were in place.

Shareholders will have the chance to vote on the demerger once the board’s decision is made.