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BHP Billiton Announces Sale of IMTL Shipping Business

Date: Melbourne and London, 06 December 2001

BHP Billiton has reached agreement with Gearbulk Ltd for the sale of BHP Billiton's International Marine Transport Liner (IMTL) shipping business which links West Coast USA and Canada, New Zealand and Australia with regular shipping services.

The transaction is part of the ongoing implementation of the Company's strategic review of its Transport and Logistics business.

President BHP Billiton Transport and Logistics Bruce McGowan said: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Gearbulk. The divestment of this excellent but non-core business provides an opportunity for IMTL employees to enhance their widely acknowledged skills and experience.

"The transaction delivers value to BHP Billiton shareholders and quality ongoing service to our customers including the future shipment of steel product for BHP Steel," he said.

After a very competitive bidding process, the sale is expected to be completed by early December. Gearbulk is offering continuing employment to all of IMTL's 10 US-based employees.

BHP Billiton is also seeking expressions of interest with the aim of divesting its Australian portside breakbulk stevedoring operations in Port Kembla, Whyalla, Western Port and Bell Bay, operated by subsidiary BHP Stevedoring Pty Ltd, and the Stevedoring and warehousing operations of BHP Transport (New Zealand) Ltd in Tauranga, Napier and Lyttelton.

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