UPDATE 4-BHP announces spin-off plan, no share buyback for now
* Spin-off includes some nickel, coal
* Analyst sees 'better asset mix than we thought'
* Company to hold minimal net debt
* BHP Billiton half-year profit up 8 pct
* London-listed shares drop 4.5 pct (Adds CEO, shareholder comments, detail)
By Sonali Paul and Silvia Antonioli
MELBOURNE/LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - The world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton , announced plans to spin off businesses worth an estimated $16 billion, most of them acquired in a 2001 merger, to focus on its most profitable activities.
But it held off on a share buyback, disappointing investors who had hoped to receive around $5 billion. BHP's London-listed shares fell 4.5 percent on Tuesday.
Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said the widely expected move to simplify BHP around the "four pillars" of iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum - with potash as a potential fifth pillar - would spur cashflow growth and boost returns. Continuación...