Glencore Follows Other Big Miners to Lower Profits


London-traded Glencore International has been making news for more than a year now for its takeover of Xstrata, a mining company of which Glencore already owns about 40%. The company is awaiting approval from Chinese regulators and now expects the deal to be done by mid-April.

In the meantime, Glencore reported preliminary results this morning for its 2012 fiscal year. Like BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP), Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO), Anglo American, Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX), Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) and Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM), Glencore took a big write-down on a mining property: a $1.2 billion impairment charge on a reclassification of an earlier charge for the company's investment in Russian aluminum giant Rusal. All told, Glencore wrote down $1.65 billion in impairment charges last year.

The company's commodity trading business helped offset the weakness in commodity prices, and Glencore managed to post an adjusted profit that was 25% lower than profit in 2011, but that exceeded an analysts' forecast for a drop of 37%. Operating profit in the company's trading division rose 11% and fell 27% in its industrial division.

For Glencore, only gold showed a positive commodity price change in 2012, up 6%. The largest negative changes were visited on nickel and iron ore, both down 23%. And Glencore nearly doubled its production of iron ore, while gold production fell by 1%.

Glencore's report is available here.

Shares in London are trading up about 3.1% this morning, at 381.45 pence.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities & Metals, Earnings, International Markets Tagged: ABX, BHP, KGC, NEM, RIO