Glencore chiefs try to reassure investors

Companies September 30, 2015 by Lee Wild

Glencore (GLEN) has already had a week to forget. Investec's research note claiming the shares could be worthless if commodity prices do not improve wiped out a third of the miner and metal trader's value.

Glencore's debt concerns were dismissed by rival brokers a day later, who tipped the shares up to a staggering 450p. That makes Glencore either a raging sell, or bargain of the century. Right now, it's unclear which it is.

Still, Glencore has been hounded by journalists demanding more detail. It's why Glencore issued a brief statement on Wednesday in an effort to address market concerns and restore some sort of order to the share price.

Remember, Glencore shares traded above 300p in May and 250p over the summer.

GLENCORE'S STATEMENT IN FULL

"Glencore has taken proactive steps to position our company to withstand current commodity market conditions.

"Our business remains operationally and financially robust - we have positive cash flow, good liquidity and absolutely no solvency issues.

"We are getting on and delivering a suite of measures to reduce our debt levels by up to US$10.2 billion [£6.72 billion].

"Glencore has no debt covenants and continues to retain strong lines of credit and secure access to funding ‎thanks to long-term relationships we have with the banks.

"We remain focused on running efficient, low cost and safe operations and are confident the medium and long-term fundamentals of the commodities we produce and market remain strong into the future."

Glencore share price chart

Glencore share price chart

Whatever Glencore says, the shares are likely to remain under pressure given the enormous debt overhang - even if the firm does reduce its debt mountain by $10.2 billion it will be saddled with about $20 billion of borrowings. The company is currently worth $16.5 billion.

Commodity prices remain glued to multi-year lows and talk about some kind of recession in 2016, probably led by China, is growing louder by the day. Even if China avoids a hard landing, the likelihood that metal prices will improve markedly any time soon is slim.

And Glencore's statement hardly fills one with confidence. There are certainly no promises here, and you get the feeling they should insert 'for now' liberally in the text.

Still, ongoing speculation and debate will make Glencore shares a favourite with day traders. More risk-averse investors might prefer to watch the show from the stands. This could get ugly.

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