FTSE 100: Glencore to return $4.5bn to investors after record profits

·2 min read
Shares in Glencore fell in early trade on Thursday. Photo: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty
Shares in Glencore fell in early trade on Thursday. Photo: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty

Glencore (GLEN.L) announced on Thursday it will return an additional $4.5bn (£3.7bn) to investors in dividends after bumper profits that more than doubled thanks to surging coal prices.

Shares in the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) commodity giant fell as much as 1.8% in early trade in London.

Prices for coal soared this year as the global energy crisis, exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, boosted demand for fossil fuels and led to soaring prices for its raw materials, particularly coal.

Glencore, which has been one of the biggest winners from the global energy crunch as demand for the fossil fuel rises, posted core profit of $18.9bn in the six months to June.

That was up 119% year-on-year from $8.7bn, and beat the $18.4bn expected by analysts.

Coal earnings at the world's largest coal exporter reached $9.5bn, exceeding Glencore’s entire profit in the year before.

The company's trading business has also benefited from volatility across commodity markets in the wake of the war and shortages during prolonged pandemic-related lockdowns,

Its trading division generated earnings of $3.7bn in the period, up on the $2.2bn-$3.2bn previously forecast for full year 2022.

The results Thursday saw Glencore boost returns to shareholders, topping up its dividend by $1.45bn and buy back a further $3bn in its own shares. That takes the total shareholder returns for the year to $8.5bn.

Read more: FTSE 100: Rio Tinto shares slide as mining bonanza fizzles

Glencore outperformed its bigger rivals such as Rio Tinto (RIO.L) and Anglo American (AAL.L), which both last week reported lower profits and smaller dividends after iron ore and copper prices fell and costs rose sharply.

Despite the upbeat announcement, the company warned of growing headwinds in demand for its key commodities, but expects energy prices will stay high.

"Looking ahead, tightening financial conditions and a deteriorating macro-economic environment present some uncertainty for commodity markets through the second half of the year," chief executive Gary Nagle said.

"However, with few short-term solutions to rebalance global energy markets, coal and LNG [liquefied natural gas] prices look set to remain elevated during this period, particularly given the current challenge of securing sufficient and reliable energy supply for the Northern Hemisphere winter ahead."

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