• Glencore widens debt-trimming plan

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    ZURICH: Glencore, the world’s largest mining company, widened its debt-trimming plan on Thursday (Friday in Manila) with deep cuts in investment and more asset sales in an effort to cope with a dramatic commodities downturn.

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    The Switzerland-based company’s share price, listed in London, leaped by double-digits as investors welcomed the decision which comes after mining giant Anglo American said it will reduce its workforce by almost two-thirds and Rio Tinto, another major mining player, announced slashing capital spending.

    Glencore had in September announced drastic moves to trim its towering debt, but said it now needed to do more.

    Glencore said it wanted to get debt to between $18-$19 billion (16.4-17.3 billion euros) by the end of next year, after previously announcing a target of $20 billion.

    Spending projections have also been cut back, with $3.8 billion allocated for investments in 2016, down from an earlier estimate of $5 billion.

    Highlights of the updated plan to stabilise the company’s books include new share sales and plans to spin off copper mines in Australia and Chile.

    Glencore, the world’s most indebted mining company, said it had already achieved  $8.7 billion in reduction to its debt, which had stood at $30 billion.

    “It’s prudent for Glencore to reduce liabilities when its business is under pressure from falling commodity prices,” said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets.

    “Going the extra mile on asset sales probably reflects a determination by management to put to bed fears in the market about the company’s solvency,” he said in a note.

    Broadly, the measures underscored the continuing rout in the commodities market, which analysts say has no end in sight and has forced major players in the sector to recalibrate after years of bumper profits.

    “We retain a high degree of flexibility and will continue to review the need to act further as required,” Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said in a statement.

    Slowdowns in China, the world’s top commodities consumer, triggered near-panic in the commodities market earlier this year.

    Glencore had already scrapped its dividend and announced plans to scale back production at some of its mines.

    The companies shares, which have been hammered in recent months, surged on the London stock exchange, where they were up 8.2 percent at 89.90 in closing trade, having earlier spiked to 95.

    AFP

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