Glencore Lifts Dividend 8%

LONDON -- Glencore International (LSE: GLEN.L  ) held steady at 354 pence in early London dealing after the commodities trader published its half-year results.

The FTSE 100 (UKX) member reported six-month revenues up 17% at 108 billion pounds and adjusted operating profits down 24% at 2.508 billion pounds.

Glencore described the performance as "respectable" in light of the "challenging backdrop" of lower commodity prices and the "softening growth outlooks" of many economies.

Within Glencore's trading division, progress was limited by lower volatility across oil and coal markets, weak oil freight prices, and generally fewer arbitrage opportunities. Meanwhile, production profits were hurt by the prices of nickel, zinc, and copper falling 28%, 15%, and 14%, respectively.

Reported earnings slumped 42% to $0.33 per share, while net debt increased 12% to $14 billion.

The dividend was lifted 8% to $0.054 per share, which Glencore said reflected its confidence in the diversification of the firm's operations, the prospects of future production and its balance-sheet strength.

Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said:

Glencore has continued to deliver strong financial results supported by a solid performance in marketing. The improvement on the second half of 2011 is particularly pleasing. This demonstrates the strength of Glencore's capital-efficient volume growth and diversified business model, underpinned by the strong relationships we have with our customers, suppliers, and finance providers.

Looking forward, we neither anticipate nor assume any material improvement in overall market or economic conditions in the near term. We will continue to diligently look to our own growth pipeline and end markets to maximize performance for our shareholders.

At present, Glencore's 12-month earnings are running at around $0.48, or 30 pence, per share. The company's P/E could therefore be less than 12.

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