Business

Glencore shares jump on faster debt cutting plans

Glencore copper mine Image copyright Getty Images

Mining giant Glencore's shares jumped sharply on news it has increased its debt reduction target and cut spending plans in the face of a highly uncertain outlook for commodity prices.

Its debt reduction target is now $13bn from the previous target of $10.2bn.

As a result, Glencore aims to cut its total debt to about $18bn (£11.8bn) by the end of 2016, down from a target in the "low 20 billions".

Earlier this week, rival Anglo American announced major restructuring plans.

Anglo said it would sell huge chunks of its business and shrink its workforce by nearly two-thirds.

Price crash

Shares in Glencore closed up 7.7% at 89.5p on Thursday, but the stock has lost 70% of its value this year.

Glencore also announced it would cut its capital expenditure plans to $5.7bn for 2015 from $6bn, and to $3.8bn in 2016 from $5bn.

The mining sector has come under pressure because slowing global demand for raw materials - largely thanks to a slowdown in economic growth in China - has seen commodity prices fall to their lowest level in several years, with iron ore at a 10-year low.

Glencore is trying to reduce $30bn of debt, created by its ambitious 2013 takeover of Xstrata. That deal added dozens of mines in numerous countries to the commodity trader's business, leaving it as one of the world's biggest miners and traders of the products of those mines.

The company has so far cut production at some of its mines and has suspended dividend payments to shareholders.

In October, Glencore said it had started the sales process for its Australian copper mine in Cobar, New South Wales, and its Lomas Bayas copper mine in the Atacama desert in Chile.

It is also looking to sell a minority stake in its agriculture business.

Glencore said a range of parties had expressed interest in buying a stake in the agriculture business and there had also been interest in the copper mines.

It expects initial bids by mid-December and the deals done by the first half of 2016.

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