Glencore in Freefall as Analysts See Tougher Restructuring
Glencore Plc plunged as much as 31 percent, extending a rout that’s wiped more than $13 billion off its value this month and highlighting investor concerns that it’s not cutting its debt load quick enough.
Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg’s debt-reduction plan announced three weeks ago and the move to sell a stake in its agricultural business reported by Bloomberg on Friday has failed to stanch the bleeding. Investec Plc warned Monday that there was little value for shareholders should low raw-material prices persist. The cost of insuring the mining and trading firm’s debt against default surged.
“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 fell to a record low and was down 25 percent at 72.90 pence by 3:11 p.m. in London. The stock slumped more than 16 percent for the second time in a week and has declined 75 percent this year, the worst performance in the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index.
Glencore’s 1.25 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of 1.25 percent bonds maturing March 2021 fell 9.6 cents on the euro to 71 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 38 percent to 757 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 3.1 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.
“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 as much as 9.3 percent to a 15-year low 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.
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.