The world’s biggest miner BHP Billiton reported a 25 percent rise in underlying half-year profit on Tuesday, helped by robust metals prices, and said its focus remains on cutting debt and boosting shareholder returns.

BHP said its plan to sell its onshore U.S. shale assets, which it has in its books at $14 billion, was progressing to plan with initial bids expected in the June quarter.

It also brushed off calls by activist investor Elliott Advisors to change its structure, with listings in both Britain and Australia, saying that the costs and risks of collapsing the dual listed structure outweigh potential benefits.

Underlying profit for the half year ended Dec. 31 rose to $4.05 billion from $3.24 billion a year ago, below a forecast of $4.30 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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