BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers has launched a stinging attack on reluctant takeover target Rio Tinto.
Kloppers rounded on Rio chief executive Tom Albanese, criticising the mining company's past performance and growth prospects.
"Tom Albanese has been comprehensively outperformed (by BHP) in terms of volume growth, earnings per share growth, total return for shareholders and share price performance," Kloppers told Britain's Financial Times.
"On every metric I can envisage they (Rio) have been beaten.
"They have missed the boat on China, they are missing the boat on energy.
"It must be terrible (for them) that every quarter, BHP outperforms, and that has been the case for seven years."
Rio has rejected BHP's offer of 3.4 of its shares for each one of Rio's, in a takeover worth $US170 billion ($A180 billion).
Speaking from BHP's Melbourne headquarters, Kloppers was also incensed by Albanese's criticism of the Australian mining giant's petroleum business last week when the oil price was close to $US115 a barrel.
"Rio are energy-short and they will not benefit from the 80 per cent margin in that (oil) business," Kloppers told the newspaper.
"I don't know what Tom was thinking."
Kloppers was speaking ahead of BHP's quarterly production report, in which the company announced it had delivered record iron ore output and an increase in petroleum production for the third quarter.
Albanese has continually lambasted BHP Billiton's petroleum division, saying he'd rather be "the leading player in the aluminium sector than the 60th ranked company in the oil and gas sector".