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Analysts’ views on diversified commodities miner and marketer Glencore have done a U-turn in the past three years as its basket of commodities has come back into favour and it has reduced its debt to manageable levels. Glencore’s shares, now around R57 on the JSE, hit their nadir at R14.20 in September 2015 when investors were alarmed by its hefty US$30bn of debt, which prompted global ratings agency S&P to downgrade its outlook to negative. Though CEO Ivan Glasenberg had dismissed concerns about the debt levels as exaggerated, Glencore announced it would reduce borrowings by raising about $2.5bn in a new share issue, selling about $2bn of assets and suspending its dividend payments. By the end of June this year, its net debt was down to $13.9bn and it was able to make the second $500m tranche, equivalent to $0.07/share, of a $1bn distribution to shareholders promised for the 2017 year. S&P has a BBB rating with a positive outlook on the group’s debt.Among the commodities in Glencor...

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