Glencore has found itself in a world of pain as China cools and commodity prices tumble
From genius to mere mortal soul. To be fair, it took something as seismic as the end of the commodities supercycle to prove his fallibility, but apparently Ivan Glasenberg isn’t superhuman or from another dimension, after all.
It wasn’t long ago that the founder of mining giant Glencore was widely lauded as a dealmaking genius when he floated the company on the London Stock Exchange.
It was 2011, a time of huge global uncertainty, when most other business figures were focused on little more than simple self-preservation.
Yet the suave South African chose this moment to push the button on the largest listing the City had ever seen. In one fell swoop, the commodities trader was catapulted into the upper ranks of the FTSE 100, Glasenberg joined the ranks of the super-rich thanks to a 15pc stake that saw him become a dollar-billionaire 10 times over, and its army of nearly 500 traders all made just over $100m (£64m) each.
In the City, where huge fortunes can be made and lost in the blink of an eye, the listing was more spectacular than any ever seen, dwarfing even the bumper floats of Goldman Sachs and Google in terms of wealth creation.
The company quickly became known as “the millionaires factory”, and with good reason Glasenberg immediately earned a reputation as one of the world’s most astute business figures.
Investors, of course, assumed they too would become rich by joining the Glencore money-making machine.
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