Published On: Fri, Feb 7th, 2014

Ivan Glasenberg’s GlencoreXstrata Closing In On $5 Billion Deal To Sell Las Bambas Copper Project

Mining companies Glencore and Xstrata merged last May to create Glencore Xstrata (GLEN (LON) ,  a global mining giant and commodity marketing company, run by CEO Ivan Glasenberg.

A regulatory condition for the merger, from major coal and copper customer China, was that Glencore should subsequently divest itself of a large copper project,  Las Bambas, in Peru.  Divesting non-core assets to strengthen the company’s balance sheet has been a key policy for Glasenberg in any case.

In July Glencore Xstrata therefore announced the commencement of a formal process to sell its entire interest in the Las Bambas copper mine project. BMO Capital Markets Limited and Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited were appointed to act as financial advisors.

Glasenberg said himself at the time with respect to Las Bambas that “There are groups forming together and combining. We see there will be at least three to four groups bidding. There is some other outside interest besides the Chinese consortiums.”

Ivan Glasenberg  bloomberg getty FRONT

Ivan Glasenberg / Getty


Now Bloomberg News is reporting there may indeed be some progress on a sale, and that an investment group led by China Minmetals Corp is said to be closing in on securing the deal,  for over US$5 billion.  One source apparently indicated the final price could even be closer to US$6 billion.

Las Bambas is a world-class copper mining project located near Cusco in Peru with over 10.5 million tons of copper resources estimated to be in the ground. The project is in an advanced phase of construction already and is due to start production as early as 2015.

Spokespersons for both companies have declined to comment officially, and Glencore’s shares have so far already jumped slightly on the rumour. Two other potential bidders, also Chinese,  have already withdrawn so now it will be up to Ivan Glasenberg to land his fish – not always an easy task when there is just one player left in the game if the critical issues, such as price, have not already been nailed down.

It also turns out that one of the non-executive Directors on the Board of GlencoreXstrata,  Peter Gruaer, is also Chairman of the Board of Bloomberg LP, Bloomberg News’ parent company.

It would certainly be helpful for Ivan Glasenberg to get this divestiture firmed up and under his belt at this point, as the company’s shares have gyrated somewhat since the merger and currently are roughly exactly where they were last May when the merger closed. Even so, a market capitalization of nearly US$70 billion is hard to be too upset about.

Las Bambas

Las Bambas in Peru

About Ivan Glasenberg

Ivan Glasenberg joined Glencore in April 1984 and has been Chief Executive Officer since January 2002. Mr Glasenberg initially spent three years working in the coal/coke commodity department in South Africa as a marketer, before spending two years in Australia as head of the Asian coal/coke commodity division.

Between 1988 and 1989, he was based in Hong Kong as head of Glencore’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices, as well as head of coal marketing in Asia, where his responsibilities included overseeing the Asian coal marketing business of Glencore and managing the administrative functions of the Hong Kong and Beijing offices.

In January 1990, he was made responsible for the worldwide coal business of Glencore for both marketing and industrial assets, and remained in this role until he became Chief Executive Officer in January 2002.

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