Debt-laden mining and commodities giant Glencore on Tuesday reported results deep in the red for 2015 due to plunging prices for metals and oil.
The Switzerland-based company posted a loss of $4.96 billion (4.5 billion euros) last year, compared to a net profit of $2.3 billion just a year earlier.
Not counting $6.3 billion in so-called significant items, including losses linked to bankruptcy proceedings at its optimum coal mine in South Africa, the company said it had raked in a net profit of $1.3 billion last year. But even this adjusted profit ticked in 69 percent lower than in 2014.
Glencore saw its commodities marketing activities slide 11 percent to $2.7 billion, hit by a slumping metals market as well as by a strong base-line comparison on agricultural products in 2014. But a “robust performance from oil marketing” helped slightly offset the downward trend.
The company's production activities plunged 38 percent to $6.0 billion, “reflecting lower prices in all key commodities.”
Glencore had in September announced drastic moves to trim its then towering $30-billion debt, including suspending production at a number of mines andselling off assets.
The company said on Tuesday that by the end of 2015, its debt had shrunk to $25.9 billion. “Our rigorous focus on debt reduction, supply discipline and cost efficiencies enabled Glencore to record a robust performance in difficult market conditions,” company chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said in the earnings statement.
He insisted that the company's “diversified portfolio … (and) highly resilient marketing business, underpins our ability to continue to be comfortably cash generative at current and even lower commodity prices.”
Glencore said it was “confident” it would shed $4.0 to $5.0 billion in assets in 2016.
It is among other things expecting to sell off a minority stake in its agriculture products business and bring in bids for the potential disposal of its Cobar and/or Lomas Bayas mines by the end of the second quarter.