Slight profit drop for Glencore

GLENCORE has posted only a modest drop in earnings, despite lower commodity prices. That said, its 2014 results beat expectations.

Kristie Batten

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were down only 2% to $US12.7 billion ($A16.2 billion), while adjusted EBIT was down 10% to $6.7 billion.

The marketing business EBITDA was up 15% to $3 billion due to strong agriculture results, while industrial EBITDA was down by 7% to $9.8 billion.

Net income dropped 7% to $4.2 billion, while funds from operations dropped 2% to $10.1 billion, which the company said reflected its resilience.

Glencore’s $1 billion share buy-back program is 93% complete, but was not extended.

The company recommended a 12c per share dividend, 9% higher than 2013.

"Our ultimate goal remains to grow our free cash flow and return excess capital in the most sustainable and efficient manner,” Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said.

“As the most diversified raw material producer and marketer, Glencore is well positioned to react to and benefit from changes in commodity fundamentals.

“Glencore will continue to focus on maximising the value of the potential within our businesses. We look forward to the future with confidence."

The company had $9.4 billion of committed available liquidity at the end of 2014.

Net debt at December 31 dropped $5.3 billion to $30.5 billion due to the sale of the Las Bambas project in Peru, a 25% reduction in capital expenditure and active working capital management.

Capital expenditure for 2014 was $8.5 billion and the company recently reduced 2015 guidance from $7.9 billion to $6.5-6.8 billion.

Analysts from SP Angel in London said it was a good set of results, but they continued to favour BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

“These results do not look bad against a sector where price falls have hit numbers more on a relative basis,” SP said in a morning note.

“Looking at margins on the industrial metals and mining segment, Rio and BHP have better quality assets with the scale to be positioned in the top quartile in terms of cost.”

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