Glencore's 2018 earnings rise, announces $3 billion share buyback plan

Glencore's 2018 earnings rise, announces $3 billion share buyback plan
FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo   -  Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
By Reuters

(Reuters) – Trading company Glencore said on Wednesday it would buy up to $3 billion (2.3 billion pounds) worth of its shares as higher pricing and production boosted full-year adjusted core earnings by 8 percent.

The share repurchase plan follows last year’s announcement of a $1 billion buyback, reflecting the recovery in mining companies following the commodity price crash of 2015-16.

The miner and trader lowered its 2019 forecast for copper output to about 1.50 million tonnes from an earlier target of 1.54 million tonnes and said output from its Mutanda mine in Congo would fall to would fall to 100,000 tonnes per year.

However, it said the overall 2019 production target in all commodities would be higher than 2018.

Earlier this week, the world’s biggest miner BHP kicked off the reporting season for global majors and reported a drop in first-half 2019 profit as a decline in copper earnings and a series of output disruptions drove up costs.

Glencore’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to $15.77 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, below an estimate of $16.14 billion by VUMA consensus.

Its marketing adjusted EBIT slumped 17 percent to $2.4 billion, hurt by a challenging cobalt market in the second half of the year.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley said the EBITDA and net profit misses were unlikely to repeat in 2019.

The company said it would buy back $2 billion worth of its shares in a plan that will run up to end of 2019 and $1 billion more based on delivery of non-core disposals.

Glencore shares were up 1.4 percent on Wednesday. The stock has lost over a fourth of its value last year because of tougher mining laws in Congo, a subpoena for documents by the U.S. Department of Justice and its exposure to coal taking a toll.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis in London and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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