Glencore moves to divest $5bn of gold assets

THE WORLD’S biggest commodities trader Glencore unveiled plans yesterday to spin off or list its gold assets, worth up to $5bn (£3.22bn), as it reported a surge in first-half profits due to strong metals prices.

Swiss-based Glencore has also dropped the idea of finding a partner for its Prodeco coal assets, a source close to the situation said.

Privately-held Glencore, which is preparing to become a listed company after issuing a $2.2bn convertible bond last year, said the planned sale or flotation of its Kazzinc precious metals producer and other assets would help meet $1bn of planned disposals, of which $400m had already been agreed.

The divestment news came as Glencore posted a 42 per cent jump in first-half net profit to $1.56bn. Revenues leapt more than half to $70bn thanks to a threefold increase in industrial activities, while trading revenues rose slightly.

Net debt rose to $13.6bn from $10.2bn, while debt coverage ratios were largely unchanged due to increased earnings and operating cash flow, the company said.