Breakingviews

Glencore tripped up by faith in rational markets

August 19, 2015

The commodity trader’s earnings have disappointed as copper and coal have tumbled. Anticipating the market is getting harder because both rivals’ behaviour and Chinese demand for raw materials are even more unpredictable. Glencore is thus focusing on what it can control: cash.

Commodity producer/trader boundary starts to blur

October 14, 2014

Glencore’s interest in a deal with Rio Tinto was about more than corporate ambition. Commodity traders are keen to buy hard assets to secure supply, while producers view logistics and marketing as a way of boosting returns. Expect more convergence, and shrinking trading margins.

Glencore Rio takeover would be harder than Xstrata

October 7, 2014

Ivan Glasenberg’s miner-trader is stalking $90 billion iron giant Rio Tinto. Though there’s some logic to a deal, Glencore will be loath to pay much of a premium, and the clash of cultures would be extreme. Rio is also in a better position to resist than rival Xstrata in 2012.

Rio Tinto can dig in against Glencore

October 7, 2014

The miner’s shares leapt after it admitted rebuffing the commodity trading giant. Yet the timing is opportunistic, as iron ore slumps, and a $160 bln merger looks suspiciously like a takeover on the cheap. So Rio’s board can justifiably demand a big premium, or no deal.

Glencore faces fight to land $5.5 bln Viterra deal

March 13, 2012

Buying Canada’s biggest grain handler would round out the commodity trader’s growing agricultural portfolio. The assets are attractive and the timing is right. But rival bidders, a lack of obvious synergies and Canada’s penchant for resource nationalism may present obstacles.

Qatar plays merger-maker at Glencore-Xstrata

April 13, 2012

The Gulf state has been a successful arbitrageur in the past. Its 5 pct stake in Xstrata is under water following the recent equity market sell-off. But Qatar could provide extra leverage to help the miner extract a sweeter offer from suitor Glencore.

Xstrata shareholders should say no

By Chris Hughes
June 19, 2012

The $45 mln three-year retention package to keep CEO Mick Davis at a merged Glencore-Xstrata is an insurance policy against the damage the company would suffer if he quit. But the premium is excessive. Investors should take a stand, even if that means losing the deal.

Glenstrata drama is no way to do M&A

September 7, 2012

Ivan Glasenberg’s curveball on Glencore-Xstrata shows bad form in deal making. Halting a shareholder vote after markets opened makes Glencore’s boss look more trader than statesman CEO. A solid deal may be imminent. But the messiness of it all should give investors pause.

Xstrata should accept revised Glencore pitch

September 10, 2012

The merger is now a $35.5 bln takeover at a modest premium. The tie-up is riskier since Xstrata CEO Mick Davis would exit after six months, although Chairman John Bond would stay. Xstrata investors will want more. But it’s hard to see a realistic alternative offering better value.

Key ingredient missing for M&A revival

By Chris Hughes
September 17, 2012

Glencore-Xstrata and BAE-EADS might set bankers’ hearts racing. Bulls have financial fuel: QE3 makes debt cheap. They have economic logic: revenue pressure from sluggish growth makes scale more valuable. But a wave of mergers won’t come until confidence rises too.