Commodities: overstated and under pressure
Glencore at a loss over DRC scandal
A disturbing disavowal of responsibility, especially given the other investigations to which Glencore is now subject
Precisely what motivated directors at Katanga Mining to overstate production and misrepresent financial statements is "hard to understand", Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg told shareholders at the company’s AGM last week. It was an important question, not least because Katanga, the copper and cobalt operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is 75% owned by Glencore. And also because Glencore’s DRC business has been the central pillar in various global investigations — including by the US department of justice. So it was not exactly a huge surprise that Glasenberg, the steely SA-born head of the commodities trading giant first started by trader Marc Rich in 1974, was grilled about this at last week’s AGM. That AGM in Switzerland, where Glencore is headquartered, stretched on for over an hour. And the DRC wasn’t the only topic: NGOs and labour also leapt at the opportunity to have their say about issues ranging from its sustained coal production to its deteriorating safety re...