* Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index down 0.5 percent
* Anglo American hits record low after restructuring plans
* BHP Billiton falls after a civil lawsuit
LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Tuesday, with Anglo American slumping to a new record low after suspending its dividend and BHP Billiton slipping after a civil lawsuit seeking billion of dollars in damages.
Shares in Anglo American sank nearly 9 percent after the miner announced restructuring steps, including plans to consolidate into three business units from six, sell more assets and suspend dividends for the second half of this year.
BHP Billiton fell 5.4 percent after a deadly dam burst at a Brazilian iron ore mine triggered a civil lawsuit, seeking 20 billion reais ($5.31 billion) in environmental and property damages from mine operator Samarco and its owners, BHP and Vale.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.5 percent at 1,457.07 points by 0847 GMT. Miners were generally weaker, tracking a fall in metals prices on lingering concerns about their demand in top consumer China.
China’s trade performance remained weak in November, casting doubt on hopes that the world’s second-largest economy would level off in the fourth quarter and spelling more pain for its major trading partners.
“It is increasingly become clear that the world’s second largest economy is still far off from turning the corner despite countless measures like several rate cuts etc,” Markus Huber, senior analyst at Peregrine & Black, said.
Chinese exports fell a worse-than-expected 6.8 percent from a year earlier, their fifth straight month of decline, while imports tumbled 8.7 percent, their 13th drop in a row.
Shares in Publicis fell 2.9 percent. Traders attributed its decline to a report in the Financial Times that it had lost some U.S accounts with Procter & Gamble, while a price target cut on Publicis’ shares by analysts at Bernstein also weighed on the stock.
However, Bouygues outperformed the weaker markets to rise 2.5 percent on a Bloomberg report that Orange is in talks to buy some assets from Bouygues. (Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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