JOHANNESBURG – Glencore has increased its debt reduction target and deepened its capital spending cuts, stepping up its response to lower commodity prices and boosting its battered shares by 12 percent on Thursday.
The mining and trading company said it was targeting net debt of between $18 billion and $19 billion by the end of 2016, against a previous target of $20 billion.
Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg, a veteran of commodities trading who took the company public only four years ago, had to bow to shareholder pressure in September by agreeing to cut Glencore’s debts and protect its credit rating.
The London-listed company’s net debt peaked at around $30 billion, one of the highest in the industry, and prices for its key products copper and coal have been languishing at multi-year lows.
After been spurred into action less than three months ago, Glasenberg said on Thursday the company had accelerated its debt cutting after commodity prices tumbled further.
Glencore’s debt-reduction plan involves asset sales, reducing capital expenditure, suspending dividend payments and raising $2.5 billion of new equity capital.
The price of copper has since fallen nearly 11 percent and hit a six-year low of $4,443.50 a tonne on Nov. 23.
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