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BHP`s ann.re: Beswick

Document date:  Fri 18 Dec 1998
Published:  Fri 18 Dec 1998 00:00:00
Document No:  120442
Document part:  A
Market Flag:  N
Classification: 

FOSTER'S BREWING GROUP LIMITED                1998-12-18  ASX-SIGNAL-G

HOMEX - Adelaide                                                      

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COPY OF BHP RELEASE

The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP) today announced
that it would seek shareholder approval to restructure Beswick Pty
Ltd (Beswick) leading to a wind up of that entity in 2001. If
approved by BHP's shareholders early next year, the first part of the
restructure would occur immediately.

The restructure ends an arrangement set-up in 1988 to resolve
instability, existing at the time, in the Company's shareholding
structure.

BHP Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mr (P M) Paul
Anderson said the restructure would increase transparency, remove an
unnecessary complexity from BHP's corporate structure and contribute
to a rebuilding of sharemarket confidence in the Company.

"Beswick has outlived its original purpose. It is time to move on.
This decision closes one chapter in the Company's history as we start
a new chapter. It is consistent with our objectives of rationalising
assets and building a more transparent corporate structure," Mr
Anderson said.

BHP holds 50 per cent of the ordinary share capital of Beswick which,
with its wholly owned subsidiary Panary Pty Ltd (together the Beswick
Group), holds 338.1 million ordinary shares in BHP (16.2 per cent of
issued capital).

The other ordinary shareholders of Beswick are a subsidiary of
Foster's Brewing Group (FBG), which owns 49.999 per cent of the
ordinary share capital and ANZ Executors and Trustee Company Limited
(ANZ) which owns the remaining 0.001 per cent.

As a result of certain additional preference shareholdings, BHP's
effective economic interest in Beswick on winding up is 97.3 per
cent.

The board of directors of Beswick has considered the restructure
proposal from the point of view of all Beswick shareholders and has
approved in principle subject to the approval of BHP shareholders.

If approved by BHP shareholders, Beswick will buy back from FBG and
ANZ their shares in Beswick for an amount calculated by reference to
the value of Beswick on a winding up. Immediately thereafter BHP will
buy back from Beswick and Panary and cancel their shares in BHP. BHP
proposes to seek shareholder approval for this transaction at an
extraordinary general meeting proposed to be held early next year.

Beswick would be wound-up in 2001 following the end of the current
arrangements in relation to Beswick's 'A' and 'B' Redeemable
Preference Shares.

A ruling has been obtained from the Australian Taxation Office in
relation to the proposed restructure and wind-up. Beswick will pay
approximately $1 million in tax as a result of the buy back
transaction.

The restructure will have minimal impact on BHP's Balance Sheet,
Earnings Per Share and gearing. Total cash outflow from the BHP Group
would be approximately $75 million, being a reduction in minority
interests, mainly as a result of the cost of the buy-back by Beswick
of FBG's and ANZ's shareholding in Beswick.


For information contact:        

Michael Spencer
DIRECTOR GROUP MEDIA RELATIONS
GROUP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
BHP
Tel:   61 3 9609 3137    (bh)
       61 3 9384 0500    (ah)
       0418 352 154      (mobile)

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