BHP Billiton Warns It Won't Buy Potash Corp 'At Any Cost'

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BHP Billiton (BHP), the world's largest mining company, warned that it is not willing to buy Potash Corp (POT) "at any cost."

CEO Marius Kloppers made the warning after announcing bumper profits for the first half of the year, Reuters reported.

"I will be as disciplined on this bid as I've been on every other endeavor," Kloppers told reporters on Wednesday. "The shareholders own the company and it's my job to create more value for them, not to do any one thing at any cost."

BHP Billiton offered $39 billion, or $130 a share, for Potash Corp last week. Potash Corp rejected the offer as "grossly inadequate," and has been looking for other bidders to top it.

BHP Billiton profit for the first half of the year, excluding one-offs, was $6.77 billion, compared with $4.59 billion for the first half of 2009. Net debt fell to $3.3 billion.

Ric Ronge, a portfolio manager at Pengana Capital in Australia, told Reuters that BHP Billiton is capable of raising its bid.

"BHP could probably go up to close to A$200 dollars ($177) a share," Ronge said.
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