UPDATE 2-Shareholders seal BHP's transformational South32 demerger
* 98 percent of voting shareholders back spin-off
* South32 to consider acquisitions after listing
* BHP focus on organic growth but can't dismiss acquisitions
* S&P maintained BHP credit rating but downgraded outlook (Updates after final vote results)
By Silvia Antonioli and Morag MacKinnon
LONDON/PERTH, May 6 (Reuters) - BHP shareholders overwhelmingly approved the spin-off of new mining and metals group South32, clearing the way for a listing this month that will test investor sentiment towards the battered mining sector.
The demerger, one of the most significant shake-ups seen in the sector since commodity prices started to plunge at the beginning of this decade, undoes much of BHP's 2001 merger with South Africa's Billiton.
More than 98 percent of votes cast at meetings in Perth and London on Wednesday were in favour of the split. Continuación...