Glencore Is Thriving in a More Dangerous World – by Megha Mandavia (Wall Street Journal – August 4, 2022)

Mining company’s outperformance will likely persist as long as energy security—and geopolitical risk—remain center stage

Glencore, the maverick of the mining world, has long been used to doing business in unstable places. Now that the whole world is looking unstable, it is unsurprising to see Glencore doing well. In particular, its decision to resist pressure to divest from coal is looking prescient.

On Thursday, the world’s top coal exporter reported a doubling of profits in the first six months of 2022, mainly due to surging coal prices as the world scrambles for energy amid rising geopolitical turmoil.

The company’s trading business also benefited from volatility across a range of commodities after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It said it will return an additional $4.45 billion to shareholders in dividends and share buybacks.

Over the past several years, Glencore has found itself in the cross hairs of activist investors pushing it to distance itself from coal. But management has decided on a different tack: simply run down mines until they run out of coal sometime before 2050.

For the rest of this article: