Glencore announces loss of $5 billion in 2015

Debt-laden mining and commodities giant Glencore on Monday reported results deep in the red for 2015 due to plunging prices for metals and oil.

Glencore announces loss of $5 billion in 2015
The logo at the company's headquarters. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Debt-laden mining and commodities giant Glencore on Tuesday reported results deep in the red for 2015 due to plunging prices for metals and oil.

The Switzerland-based company posted a loss of $4.96 billion (4.5 billion euros) last year, compared to a net profit of $2.3 billion just a year earlier.

Not counting $6.3 billion in so-called significant items, including losses linked to bankruptcy proceedings at its optimum coal mine in South Africa, the company said it had raked in a net profit of $1.3 billion last year. But even this adjusted profit ticked in 69 percent lower than in 2014.

Glencore saw its commodities marketing activities slide 11 percent to $2.7 billion, hit by a slumping metals market as well as by a strong base-line comparison on agricultural products in 2014. But a “robust performance from oil marketing” helped slightly offset the downward trend.

The company's production activities plunged 38 percent to $6.0 billion, “reflecting lower prices in all key commodities.”

Glencore had in September announced drastic moves to trim its then towering $30-billion debt, including suspending production at a number of mines andselling off assets.

The company said on Tuesday that by the end of 2015, its debt had shrunk to $25.9 billion. “Our rigorous focus on debt reduction, supply discipline and cost efficiencies enabled Glencore to record a robust performance in difficult market conditions,” company chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said in the earnings statement.

He insisted that the company's “diversified portfolio … (and) highly resilient marketing business, underpins our ability to continue to be comfortably cash generative at current and even lower commodity prices.”

Glencore said it was “confident” it would shed $4.0 to $5.0 billion in assets in 2016.

It is among other things expecting to sell off a minority stake in its agriculture products business and bring in bids for the potential disposal of its Cobar and/or Lomas Bayas mines by the end of the second quarter.

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Why is Switzerland Europe’s ‘most competitive’ country?

Not only is Switzerland the most competitive in Europe, but it is also in the second place worldwide.

Why is Switzerland Europe's 'most competitive' country?

In its new annual ranking, the IMD Business Institute named Switzerland the world’s second-best in terms of competitiveness. 

Singapore is in the first  place, which means Switzerland is in the top spot among European nations.

What does ‘competitiveness’ mean?

For the purpose of this survey, among the most reputable globally, IMD ranked 67 countries.

It examined and compared each nation’s GDP and productivity, along with political, social and cultural factors.

“Governments play a crucial role too, by providing an environment characterized by efficient infrastructure, institutions, and policies,” IMD said.

In what areas is Switzerland particularly competitive?

It is in the first place in terms of government efficiency — the position it has held since 2022.

Within this particular category, the country excels in public finance and institutional organisation.

It is also at the top for its infrastructure, particularly for health services, environment, as well as educational system.

In this category too, the country has maintained its first place for several years.

Switzerland also scores relatively high (second place) for productuvity and efficiency, as well as infrastructure for scientific research.

Where does Switzerland rank less well?

It is in the 16th place for international trade, in the 15th for ‘attitudes and values’.

And it should come as no surprise to anyone living here that the country ranks in the 61st place (that is, near the bottom), in terms of prices.