BHP and BBL are the US ADR's for the BHP Billiton Group of Dual Listed Companies that operate as if merged, consolidate their assets and earnings, share the same employees, assets, officers and directors. BHP is the ADR for two BHP.AX shares, the Australian based half of the DLC's, BBL is the ADR for two BLT.L shares, the UK based half.
The BHP group keeps their combined books in US$, and declares their dividend in US$. Both BHP and BBL get the same vote and dividend, but for some unknown reason BBL trades at a discount to BHP.
All explained here on the BHP Billiton website under the Investors/shareholder info tab Q&A
I own both shares. Even after reading the info on their site, I am still a bit unsure as to why there is such a discrepancy in share price movement. ie. at this time BHP is up 2.78% and BBL up 4.1%. Any insight?
BHP Billiton was formed in June 2001 from the merger of BHP Limited (an Australian listed company) and Billiton Plc (a UK listed company). The merger was effected by way of a dual listed companies (DLC) structure, meaning that although the companies technically continue to be separate legal entities (now renamed BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc) with separate share listings and share registers, they are managed and run as a single economic entity. The companies have a common Board of Directors and management team. Shareholders in BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc have equal economic and voting rights, as if they held shares in a single company.