Glencore eyes South African Optimum Coal

Kasmira Jefford
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SOUTH AFRICAN miner Optimum Coal has become the latest acquisition target for Glencore as the company looks to benefit from recent economic turmoil that has prompted a sell-off in the markets.

Sources close to City A.M said that the commodities trader has set its sights on buying South Africa’s sixth-largest coal producer and is preparing to place a formal offer.

Optimum’s shareholders have confirmed that they received a formal offer from Glencore with the support of South African partner Cyril Ramaphosa, whose unlisted Shanduka Resources owns 30 per cent of Shanduka Coal, a venture with Glencore.

Glencore on Wednesday launched a A$268m (£171.5m) bid for the 27 per cent of shares it doesn’t already own in Australian nickel miner Minara.

Speaking at the company’s half year results yesterday, chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said, given the turmoil in the markets, it was “an opportunistic time” to look at buying resource companies.

“Is this the bottom? I don’t know, but it is definitely a better time to look at acquisitions,” he added.

The company met forecasts with a 50 per cent surge in first-half adjusted profit to $3.3bn thanks to rising commodity prices and rosy oil trading conditions and said it remained optimistic on global growth.

Glencore’s five top executives will share a further $130m (£80m) windfall as the company will make its maiden dividend since its float in May of five cents a share.

Shares in the company, which rose sharply in the early morning trading fell back to 388.50p last night.