Glencore plans copper mine sales to cut debts

Glencore has announced plans to sell copper mines in Australia and Chile as the embattled commodity trader and miner seeks to reduce its debts.

Asset sales are part of Glencore’s plan to cut $30bn (£20bn) of net debt by a third after a slump in the price of commodities it trades and mines. It has suspended its dividend, raised $2.5bn by selling shares and halted operations at two African mines.

Its share price has more than halved this year as a result of the collapse in commodity prices as demand from China falls.

The company said it decided to sell the Cobar and Lomas Bayas mines after a number of potential bidders made enquiries. Glencore shares were suspended in Hong Kong before the announcement was made.

Glencore said: “This will allow potential buyers to bid to purchase either one or both of the mines and may or may not result in a sale. Glencore will issue an update only in the event a sale is agreed or disclosure is otherwise required.”

Cobar, in New South Wales, is an underground mine producing about 1.1m tonnes of copper a year. The open pit Lomas Bayas mine is 80 miles from the Chilean port of Antofagasta and produces low-grade copper ore that is converted to copper cathode.

The company, led by chief executive Ivan Glasenberg, is also looking to sell a minority stake in its agricultural business. Last month it sold a Brazilian nickel project.

Last week, Glencore prompted the biggest rise in zinc prices for a decade when it announced it would cut its production of the metal by a third.

Powered by article was written by Sean Farrell, for on Monday 12th October 2015 07.58 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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