Glencore in Freefall as Analysts See Tougher Restructuring

Glencore Takes Brunt of Global Commodities Rout
  • Shares of FTSE 100's worst performer plunged a record 29%
  • More substantial restructuring needed, Investec warns

Glencore Plc plunged 29 percent, extending a rout that’s wiped more than $14 billion off its value this month and highlighting investor concerns that the commodity trader and miner isn’t cutting its debt load quick enough.

Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg’s debt-reduction plan announced three weeks ago has failed to stanch the bleeding and Investec Plc warned Monday that there was little value for shareholders should low raw-material prices persist. Traders were seeking upfront payments to insure Glencore’s debt for the first time since 2009.

“In the current climate, debt is fast becoming the most important consideration,” Hunter Hillcoat and Marc Elliott, analysts at Investec, wrote in a note to investors. “Glencore may have to undertake further restructuring.”

The slump on Monday was the most since its initial public offering in 2011.
The company has sold new stock and scrapped its dividend as part of the $10 billion debt-reduction program as China’s economic slowdown hurt demand for commodities. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said last week that Glencore’s recent steps to reduce debt and bolster its balance sheet were inadequate.

Glencore closed at a record low of 68.62 pence in London. The stock has declined 77 percent this year, the worst performance in the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index.

A Glencore spokesman declined to comment on the reasons for the decline.

Glencore’s 1.25 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of 1.25 percent bonds maturing March 2021 fell 11 cents on the euro to 70 cents, the lowest since the securities were issued in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The cost of insuring its debt against default rose 54 percent to 849 basis points on Monday, according to data provider CMA.

The company counts Qatar Holding LLC, CEO Glasenberg, Harris Associates LP and BlackRock Inc. among its biggest shareholders, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from filings.

The shares have been battered after investors retreated from commodities as China’s economy expands at the slowest pace since 1990. The Bloomberg Commodity Index last month reached the lowest in 16 years and the Bloomberg World Mining Index on Mondaylost as much as 3.3 percent to touch the lowest since 2008.

Glencore has hired Citigroup Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG to sell a minority stake in its agricultural business, a person familiar with the situation said Friday. The sale is part of the debt-cutting program announced earlier this month that included selling $2.5 billion of new stock in an attempt to reduce the company’s debt to $20 billion from $30 billion.

That might not be enough, according to Investec.

Investec Warning

“The challenging environment for mining companies leads us to the question of how much value will be left for equity holders if commodity prices do not improve,” Investec said in a note. The bank warned that if major commodity prices remain at current levels, almost all of Glencore and Anglo American Plc’s equity value would evaporate in the absence of substantial restructuring.

Anglo American, owner of the world’s biggest platinum and diamond producers, dropped 10 percent to close at the lowest since at least 1999 in London.

Goldman Sachs said that should commodity prices fall another 5 percent, the metrics needed to maintain Glencore’s credit rating would be out of the required range.

Chinese Market

Billionaire Glasenberg has said no one can read the Chinese commodity market. The nation’s industrial profits dropped 8.8 percent last month, the most in at least four years, signaling weakening demand. The biggest consumer of commodities is struggling with excess capacity, sluggish investment and weaker manufacturing.

Moody’s Investors Service earlier this month cut its outlook to negative on Glencore and affirmed the company’s Baa2 debt rating. Standard & Poor’s has reduced its outlook on Glencore’s BBB level to negative, saying China’s slowing economy will continue to weigh on copper and aluminum prices, which are near six-year lows.

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

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