Glencore Plc has set its ambitions on expanding in South Africa, the homeland of its chief Ivan Glasenberg.
As the company’s former business partner and new President Cyril Ramaphosa promises an economic recovery, Glencore is reaping profits from coal and chrome assets as prices rise. The company announced in October a $1 billion deal to buy Chevron Corp.’s oil refining and fuel service stations in South Africa and considered a bid for the Optimum coal mine.
The oil bid “was a pretty strong vote of confidence in the South African environment,” said Martin Kingston, the chief executive officer of N.M. Rothschild & Sons Ltd. in South Africa, which is advising Chevron on the sale. “Glencore understands the environment very well. They are effective behind the scenes and they have their finger on the pulse.”
Glasenberg, who started his career trading South African coal in the 1980s, has a wide range of business connections in the country, including Ramaphosa.
The two executives have known each other for about thirty years and cemented their partnership in 2005, when Glencore picked Ramaphosa to be its black economic-empowerment partner on the Shanduka Coal project. They teamed up again in 2012 to buy Optimum Coal Holdings Ltd.
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