Glencore posts record $18.9bn profit as coal enjoys a renaissance


Glencore’s earnings greater than doubled to a record within the first half of the 12 months, cementing the group’s standing as one of many largest winners from the turmoil in commodity markets unleashed by the conflict in Ukraine.

A powerful efficiency at its coal enterprise, which Glencore has caught with even as rivals retreat from the controversial gas, accounted for nearly half of the FTSE 100 group’s record $18.9bn in adjusted earnings.

Its earnings for the primary six months have been up 119 per cent from a 12 months earlier, beating its earlier half-year record and exceeding the $18.4bn anticipated by analysts.

As a outcome, Glencore laid out plans to spice up returns to buyers, asserting a $1.45bn particular dividend and a new $3bn share buyback programme that take complete shareholder returns for the 12 months to $8.5bn.

The bumper earnings will improve give attention to its coal division, which generated earnings of $8.9bn, greater than the entire firm made within the first six months of final 12 months.

Shares in Glencore have been up 1.5 per cent in London on Thursday, taking their acquire for the 12 months to twenty per cent.

The elevated payout will imply one other payday for a number of former Glencore executives, who stay among the many firm’s largest shareholders. Former chief government Ivan Glasenberg nonetheless owns 9 per cent of the corporate and is about to take about $133mn from the particular dividend, in accordance with calculations by the Financial Times.

Unlike lots of its rivals, which have lower their coal-mining actions amid criticism of the carbon emissions generated by the gas, Glencore stays one of many largest producers.

The Swiss-headquartered group argues coal might be wanted throughout the power transition in lots of elements of the world and that it’s higher for the corporate to run down manufacturing over the subsequent 30 years than to divest.

“We are not a coal company, we are a decarbonising transition company,” chief government Gary Nagle stated, pointing to the “future-facing metals” Glencore mines, particularly copper, cobalt, nickel and zinc, which might be required for the batteries, transmission networks and different infrastructure wanted to construct a decrease carbon power system.

“In the meantime, as the world transitions, reliable baseload energy is required for the world and we provide that through both our coal business . . . and our energy trading business,” he added.

Coal was having “its day in the sun”, chief monetary officer Steven Kalmin stated, noting that the coal division generated solely $900mn within the first half of final 12 months and that he didn’t count on such excessive costs for the gas to proceed.

Glencore’s advertising enterprise, which units the corporate other than its pure mining friends, additionally outperformed, producing earnings of $3.7bn, exceeding the $2.2bn to $3.2bn it had beforehand anticipated to make throughout all the 12 months.

In a signal of the volatility in commodity markets this 12 months, Glencore stated its working capital necessities had elevated by $8.7bn, with $5bn invested in its advertising enterprise to allow its merchants to proceed to work amid “materially higher” oil, fuel and coal costs.

Higher rates of interest, larger inflation and financial slowdown have been prone to cut back earnings within the second half of the 12 months, Nagle stated, although he argued that the long-term commodity outlook remained constructive.

“We believe that Chinese recovery will come and will be very strong,” he stated. “The other area that we can’t ignore is decarbonisation. This is something that is happening, will happen and must happen and that has a huge draw or demand for increased use of commodities, particularly the commodities that we have.”

The larger working capital necessities included $300mn that Glencore has paid thus far to resolve investigations within the US, UK and Brazil into a number of counts of bribery and market manipulation between 2007 and 2018. Glencore pleaded responsible to the fees earlier this 12 months and anticipated the entire penalties to achieve $1.5bn.

Nagle, who has labored at Glencore since 2000, stated on Thursday that he had no data of any of the misconduct or of a “cash desk” on the firm’s Swiss headquarters, which prosecutors stated existed to dispense money for bribery till 2016.

Analysts at Credit Suisse famous the “strong results and outlook” for the advertising enterprise and future shareholder distributions. “Glencore is highlighting elevated macro uncertainty in [the second half of the year], but the tone is slightly more positive than we have seen from other miners,” the financial institution stated.

Glencore forecast adjusted earnings for 2022 of greater than $32bn.

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