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Number 16/04

Following BHP Billiton’s decision to cease quarterly reporting of financial results, the Board has announced today its intention to align its dividend declaration dates with its half year and full year earnings announcements. As a result of this decision, BHP Billiton has today announced a second interim dividend of 8.5 US cents per share.

Commenting on these decisions, Chairman Don Argus said: “Moving our dividend declaration dates to February and August, to coincide with our half year and full year earnings announcements, brings us into line with normal market practice. The second interim dividend is being paid to reflect the change in timing of our final dividend which will now be declared in August of this year rather than May, as has been the case in recent years. What will not change is our focus on pursuing a progressive dividend policy.”

The second interim dividend of 8.5 US cents per share will be paid to BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc shareholders on 5 May 2004 and represents an increase of 13.3% over the final dividend of 7.5 US cents per share, paid on 2 July 2003.

Full details of the timetable for this second interim dividend are attached to this release.

Timetable for BHP Billiton’s second interim dividend

A second interim dividend of 8.5 US cents per share will be paid to BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc shareholders on 5 May 2004, an increase of 13.3% over the final dividend of 7.5 US cents per share, paid on 2 July 2003.  The BHP Billiton Limited dividend will be fully franked for Australian taxation purposes.

Dividends for the BHP Billiton Group are determined and declared in US dollars.  However, BHP Billiton Limited dividends are mainly paid in Australian dollars and BHP Billiton Plc dividends are mainly paid in pounds sterling to shareholders on the UK section of the register and South African rand to shareholders on the South African section of the register.  The rates of exchange applicable two business days before the announcement date are used for conversion, and are detailed below.

The timetable in respect of this dividend will be:

Currency conversion 19 March 2004

Last day to trade Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) 6 April 2004

Ex-dividend Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) 7 April 2004

Ex-dividend Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) 8 April 2004

Ex-dividend London Stock Exchange (LSE) 14 April 2004

Record 16 April 2004

American Depositary Shares (ADSs) each represent two fully paid ordinary shares and receive dividends accordingly.  The record date for BHP Billiton Limited ADSs is 15 April 2004 and for BHP Billiton Plc ADSs is 16 April 2004.

BHP Billiton Plc shareholders registered on the South African section of the register will not be able to dematerialise or rematerialise their shareholdings, nor will they be able to effect transfers between the UK register and the South African register between the dates of 7 April 2004 and 16 April 2004.

The following table details the exchange rates applicable for conversion of the dividend payable on 5 May 2004:

Dividend 8.5 US cents    Exchange Rate                        Dividend per ordinary
                                                                                            Share in local currency

Australian cents                  0.749716                                        11.337627
British pence                       1.833993                                           4.634696
South African cents            6.626434                                         56.324689
New Zealand cents            0.656200                                         12.953368

For further information contact:

Australia
Andrew Nairn, Investor Relations
Tel: +61 3 9609 3952  Mobile: +61 408 313 259
email: Andrew.W.Nairn@bhpbilliton.com

Tania Price, Media Relations
Tel: +61 3 9609 3815  Mobile: +61 419 152 780
email: Tania.Price@bhpbilliton.com


United Kingdom
Mark Lidiard, Investor & Media Relations
Tel: +44 20 7802 4156
email: Mark.Lidiard@bhpbilliton.com

Ariane Gentil, Media Relations
Tel: +44 20 7802 4177
email: Ariane.Gentil@bhpbilliton.com

United States
Francis McAllister, Investor Relations
Tel: +1 713 961 8625  Mobile: +1 713 480 3699
email: Francis.R.McAllister@bhpbilliton.com

South Africa
Michael Campbell, Investor & Media Relations
Tel: +27 11 376 3360  Mobile: +27 82 458 2587
email: Michael.J.Campbell@bhpbilliton.com

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