Commodities giant Glencore trims loss after asset sales

AP News
Posted: Aug 24, 2016 4:57 AM

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss commodities producer Glencore says it narrowed its net loss in the first half of 2016, after selling billions of dollars' worth of assets to slash debt as global economic concerns soured the market for raw materials.

The company based in Baar, Switzerland, reported its net loss shrank to $369 million in the first six months, from $676 million a year earlier. Revenue fell six percent to $69.43 billion, more than half of which came from marketing activities for its energy products segment.

Glencore says the commodities business ended a "five-year period of price underperformance" in the first half of 2016 despite concerns about the world economy, especially in China. It noted how commodities generally were among the strongest-performing asset classes this year.

Excluding one-time items, Glencore said its income sank 66 percent to $300 million. The year-ago figure included over $1.2 billion in one-time items due mostly to impairments linked to reduced drilling rigs in Chad in the first half of 2015.

CEO Ivan Glasenberg says Glencore has "largely achieved" its aim of disposing of assets for up to $5 billion after launching a debt-reduction plan in September.

He cited a "more constructive tone of markets in recent months" and improved pricing for many of its main commodities, but acknowledged core markets remain volatile.

Glencore has about 150 mining and metallurgical sites and markets over 90 commodities including copper, zinc, aluminum and nickel to industrial customers in sectors such as steel, cars, power generation, oil and food processing.

Shares of Glencore were down just under 4 percent to 182.45 pence per share in London trading Wednesday morning. After losing roughly two-thirds of their value last year, Glencore shares have doubled in a rebound this year.