Global storm clouds cast shadow on mining giant – by John Lynch (Irish Independent – July 30, 2018)

Ethics and compliance with strict disclosure rules is the first thing businesses sign up to when they get a stock market quote.

One thing is certain, however. If accusations of corruption, money laundering and doing dodgy deals with highly questionable regimes in hot countries are being hurled around – as they have been against the huge international mining group Glencore – and the accuser is a powerful institution like the US Department of Justice, you are bound to see it in the share price.

At the beginning of July, Glencore’s stock fell sharply, wiping a staggering £5bn (€5.6bn) off the company’s market value. It also forced the Swiss-based group to set up a board sub-committee to investigate the accusations. In addition, its chairman quickly pledged a shares buyback this year of $1bn (€860m), no doubt to placate investors.

Glencore, clearly, is not an ordinary company and not just because it is by far the world’s largest resource outfit. Figures show it to be more than four times bigger in revenue terms than its closest rival, BHP Billiton.

It is also the company that the Reuters news agency once called the “biggest company you never heard of”. Early last year, world sanctions were imposed on Russia following its invasion of Crimea and other Ukrainian adventures. In spite of the sanctions, Glencore and Qatar Investments bought a 20pc stake in the oil group Rosneft from the Russian state.

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