Investment banks to cash in if £31bn Glencore opts for a London listing

THE world’s biggest commodities trader, Glencore, is said to be planning a float for next year that could be the largest ever seen on the London Stock Exchange if the firm opts to list in the UK.

However, it might instead choose to float in Hong Kong to gain access to faster-growing emerging markets, or to float part of the business in each location.

A full float could be as large as £31bn according to broker estimates and would be likely to generate one to two per cent, or £310m-£620m, in advisory fees.

The minerals trader is said to have appointed Morgan Stanely, Citigroup and Credit Suisse to advise on the deal.

Other options for the firm’s expansion include a buy-out of FTSE 100 mining firm Xstrata, of which it already owns a third.

The company has benefited from the commodities boom of the past few months with half-year revenues this year reaching $70bn, up from $45bn last year. In addition to trading commodities, it also owns mining facilities all over the world.

Its founder, Marc Rich, was prosecuted in 1983 for tax evasion but was pardoned in 2001 by former US president Bill Clinton.

If the float does take place on the LSE next year, it could mark the end to a fallow period for initial public offerings.

Coming alongside a planned float of a fifth of Santander UK, estimated at £4bn-£5bn, it could make 2011 a blockbusting year for advisory fees.

Glencore refused to comment.