Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Ivan Glasenberg

Ivan Glasenberg

Glencore

THE public scrutiny that fell upon Ivan Glasenberg’s Glencore in the latter half of 2015 would never have happened to a private company. But Glencore’s listing in 2013 – the biggest of that year in London – exposed the Swiss group to all the unalloyed frenzy a mining market in panicky free-fall could muster. How the South African’s blood must have froze when on September 8 some 30% of his firm’s value evaporated. The concern on which short traders capitalised was that some $5.5bn in savings Glasenberg promised via cuts to capex and dividends, and asset sales, were insufficient to dismiss solvency worries. Glasenberg sprang into action doubling the net debt reduction target to $18bn by end-2016. It proved enough; at least, for now. Glencore’s share price stabilised but investors will want proof the self-help actions are enough in 2016. The part sale of the firm’s agribusiness, and other cash preservation efforts, such as streaming of by-products, require consummation. Beneath it all, Glasenberg remains fundamentally optimistic. He dismissed worries that Glencore would go bust and whilst criticising the reluctance of rivals to cut production – Glencore cut coal and copper output – he pinned his future to the inevitable recovery of the commodity market.

LIFE OF IVAN

He was born in South Africa and educated at Hyde Park High. He studied accounting at Wits University and obtained his CA after five years as an accountant with Levitt Kirson. After an MBA, he joined the global oil trading firm, Marc Rich & Co, as a marketer in the coal and coke department. The company became Glencore and Glasenberg became CEO of it in January 2002.