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BHP Digs Deep and Retains Title of World’s Most Valuable Mining Brand Despite Losing Brand Value

  • BHP retains title of world’s most valuable mining, iron & steel brand, brand value US$5.8 billion
  • CITIC Pacific Mining is fastest growing, brand value up 25%
  • In contrast, Germany’s Thyssenkrupp is fastest falling, down 18%, as steel industry suffers
  • 3 new entrants in Brand Finance Mining, Iron & Steel ranking: Newmont Goldcorp, Barrick Gold and Fortescue
  • Rio Tinto overtakes BHP to become world’s strongest mining iron & steel brand, Brand Strength Index score 71.8 out of 100

View the full Brand Finance Mining, Iron & Steel 25 2020 report here

Australia’s BHP has retained the title of the world’s most valuable mining, iron & steel brand, despite recording a 3% drop in brand value to US$5.8 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy. BHP has had a turbulent year, from negotiating a US$5 billion lawsuit, following the devasting Samarco dam disaster in Brazil in 2015, to battling the repercussions of the catastrophic Australian bushfire, which severely damaged its coal output with production falling 13% in the final months of 2019. This, paired with the brand’s exposure to fluctuating global trade and softening demand in the key Chinese market, has resulted in a fall in brand value. The future of BHP looks bright, however, as iron ore prices - the brand’s main commodity and source of income - are expected to remain high throughout 2020.

BHP’s newly appointed CEO, 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.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“BHP, along with all mining, iron & steel brands, is 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.”

CITIC Pacific Mining strikes gold

There have been minimal notable movements in the top 10 aside from CITIC Pacific Mining which has recorded an impressive 25% brand value growth to US$2.7 billion, simultaneously climbing two places in the ranking to 8th position.

As with all brands across the sector, CITIC Pacific Mining has been exposed to various obstacles, from the slowing Chinese economy to global geopolitical turmoil. However, the brand has taken successful steps to protect itself from this uncertainty, through consistent plant acquisitions and its focus on developing the fundamentals of the business, ensuring the brand retains a competitive position in the long-term.

Thyssenkrupp falls 18% amid turmoil

In contrast, Germany’s Thyssenkrupp has suffered the biggest loss in brand value in the ranking, falling 18% to US$2.1 billion. The steel production giant has been tackling a multitude of challenges as the industry struggles with rising costs of carbon permits and cheaper imports cutting prices. The repercussions of the US-China trade war have also severely damaged sectors the industry relies on, including the automotive and energy sectors.

Thyssenkrupp is facing management chaos and replaced its previous CEO after just 14 months. With four profit warnings issued during this time and several failed restructuring attempts and mergers, the brand dropped out of the DAX last year after more than 30 years of trading.

With the brand currently bidding to sell its highly successful elevator division, Thyssenkrupp is fighting to push profits up to build investor trust, if successful, the brand could see a change in fortunes this coming year, which could, in turn, boost its brand value.

Three new entrants

There are three new entrants in this year’s ranking: Newmont Goldcorp (brand value US$973 million), Barrick Gold (brand value US$651 million) and Fortescue (brand value US$634 million) in 16th, 24th and 25th positions respectively.

Gold mining giants, Newmont Goldcorp and Barrick Gold, have celebrated strong growth as the commodity continues to thrive, with gold prices reaching a multiyear high last year - a common consequence of political uncertainty. This, combined with strong central bank buying and an impressive recovery in India’s jewellery market, has boosted demand of the commodity to extremely healthy levels.  

Rio Tinto overtakes BHP as sector’s strongest

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. According to these criteria Rio Tinto (down 1% to US$3.3 billion) is the world’s strongest mining, iron & steel brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 71.8 out of 100 and a corresponding AA brand strength rating.

As with the majority of brands in the ranking, Rio Tinto has dropped in brand strength this year as the sector faces increased scrutiny and intolerance in the face of climate change and global heating challenges. Despite the brand pledging $1 billion over the next five years to reduce its carbon footprint and reach net zero emissions by 2050, Rio Tinto has been unable to avoid the heat from activists and green groups. How the brand responds to this criticism will no doubt impact the brand’s reputation and stakeholder engagement, and thus its brand strength in the coming year.

View the full Brand Finance Mining, Iron & Steel 25 2020 report here


Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 25 most valuable Mining, Iron & Steel brands are included in the Brand Finance Mining, Iron & Steel 25 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Mining, Iron & Steel 25 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Florina Cormack-Loyd
Communications Manager, Brand Finance
T: +44 (0)2073 899 400
M: +44 (0)7939 118 932

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About Brand Finance          

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy, with offices in over 20 countries. Brand Finance bridges the gap between marketing and finance by quantifying the financial value of brands.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Brand Finance is a chartered accountancy firm regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and also the first brand valuation consultancy to join the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC).

Brand Finance’s brand value rankings have been certified by the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) through the Marketing Metric Audit Protocol (MMAP), the formal process for validating the relationship between marketing measurement and financial performance.


Definition of Brand

Brand Finance helped to craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668. It defines a brand as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures, relative to its competitors. In order to determine the strength of a brand, we look at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of the brands in its league tables using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Brand revenues are discounted post-tax to a net present value which equals the brand value.

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