BHP has retained its position as the world’s most valuable mining, iron and steel brand, according to the latest report by Brand Finance.
It defied a 3 per cent drop in brand value to $US5.8 billion ($8.9 billion) due to an unstable 2019.
BHP faced a $US5 billion lawsuit related to the Samarco dam disaster in Brazil and a 13 per cent fall in coal output towards the end of last year following Australia’s bushfire devastation.
The mining giant was also exposed to fluctuating global trade and softening demand in the Chinese market, according to Brand Finance.
“The future of BHP looks bright, however, as iron prices – the brand’s main commodity and source of income – are expected to remain high throughout 2020,” the brand valuation consultancy stated.
“BHP’s newly appointed (chief executive) Mike Henry has already been garnering media attention and stakeholder scrutiny following his refusal to withdraw the brand from the Minerals Council of Australia, which has been heavily criticised for its position on climate change.
“Despite this, Henry’s tenure could provide the impetus for change needed to rejuvenate the brand, as BHP continues to tackle the challenges faced by all brands across the sector.”
Rio Tinto, however, overtook BHP as the sector’s strongest brand, based on the companies’ marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.
The former’s strength in the coming year will depend on how it responds to criticism from green groups, according to Brand Finance.
“… All mining, iron and steel brands (are) having to negotiate the increasing intolerance of new mining projects; a strong brand becomes increasingly important in keeping other influential stakeholders, such as regulators, on side to maintain growth and profitability,” Brand Finance chief executive David Haigh said.
Newmont, Barrick Gold and Fortescue Metals Group have emerged in this year’s brand value ranking, occupying the 16th, 24th and 25th positions respectively.
Gold mining giants have benefited from the precious metal’s prices reaching multiyear highs as well as strong central bank buying and recovery in India’s jewellery market.
Meanwhile, CITIC Pacific Mining took the title of the fastest growing brand in 2020, with value up 25 per cent to $US2.7 billion.
The company, which has climbed two places in the ranking to eighth position this year, has guarded itself from economic and geopolitical uncertainties through consistent plant acquisitions, according to Brand Finance.