Chairman purged from Glencore Xstrata board

The chairman of newborn mining and commodities giant Glencore Xstrata, John Bond, was on Thursday axed by its annual general meeting in Zug, just weeks after the Swiss-based group was created via a merger of two key players.

Chairman purged from Glencore Xstrata board
John Bond, just one of several former Xtrata executives sacked from Glencore Xstrata board. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

A total of 80.85 percent of shareholders voted against reelecting former Xstrata official Bond.
In a statement, Glencore Xstrata said that it took note of the results and 
that it was launching the search process for a new chairman.
"Given that Sir John Bond is no longer a director, the board has appointed 
Tony Hayward as interim chairman with immediate effect with the intention that he will step down once a new chairman takes up the role," the company said.
Hayward, who quit as head of energy giant BP in the wake of the 2010 
Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill in the Gulf of Mexico, had been serving as an independent non-executive director of Glencore Xstrata.
In November, Bond had announced that he would step down after the Glencore 
Xstrata merger was complete, but only after a successor had been identified.
But he caused a stir at the start of Thursday's meeting by announcing that 
he was in any case not set to be reelected and, without offering an explanation to shareholders, asking Hayward to chair the assembly.
Three other members of the board, all previously with Xstrata, were also 
ditched by the annual general meeting.
Commodities trader Glencore International's merger with mining corporation 
Xstrata was painted as a marriage of equals.
But the new group, steered by Glencore's Ivan Glasenberg, has kept on just 
two former Xstrata officials in key posts.
In addition, the company 
on Monday dumped plans for a new billion-dollar coal export terminal in Australia's Queensland state, citing poor current market conditions and concerns about the industry outlook.
The terminal project was the brainchild of Xstrata.

Glasenberg recently pledged to launch a cost-saving drive, notably by 
trimming the Xstrata-era administration.
Glencore Xstrata was created formally at the beginning of this month after 
having been put on ice for several months pending approval from Chinese regulators.

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Glencore in black despite low commodity prices

Swiss mining and commodities giant Glencore was back in the black in 2014, posting a $2.3 billion net profit, but took a $1.1 billion impairment charge on dwindling commodity prices, it said on Tuesday.

Glencore in black despite low commodity prices
Photo: AFP

The healthy profit comes after the Swiss company suffered an $8 billion loss a year earlier.
However, taking into account the group's absorption of another Swiss mining giant Xstrata, the company saw its results on a comparable pro forma basis slip seven percent from the year before.
The merger with Xstrata and integration of Canadian company Viterra meanwhile helped boost Glencore's trade, and the company said its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, swelled 18 percent to $2.8 billion.
But Glencore, headquartered in Baar in the canton of Zug, took a $1.1 billion impairment charge amid plunging commodity prices, especially in the energy sector.

The company warned last month that because of "volatile" market conditions, it aimed to slash its spending this year to $6.5-6.8 billion, down from the $7.9 billion announced to investors in early December.
Glencore, which has a heavy footprint in copper, coal and oil, as well as in the agriculture commodities sectors, also said it aimed to reduce its coal mine activities in South Africa and in Australia.
"Our ultimate goal remains to grow our free cash flow and return excess capital in the most sustainable and efficient manner," Glencore chief
executive Ivan Glasenberg said in the earnings statement.
"As the most diversified raw material producer and marketer, Glencore is well positioned to react to and benefit from changes in commodity
fundamentals," he added.
The company's board aims to propose hiking the dividend paid to shareholders by nine percent to 18 cents a share, the company said.