Glasenberg the hunter becomes the hunted
fidence to go on a buying spree. The purchases included the Canadian grain handling business Viterra bought for shade under £4bn. In May 2013, Glencore took full control of the mining group Xstrata, created by another South Africa, Mick Davis, for the grand sum of £26bn, in a deal that finally was brokered by none other than former Prime Minister Tony Blair. By July 2014, Glencore looked to be top of the world and Glasenberg imagined he might be in a position to take over or merge with Britain’s most venerable mining company, Rio Tinto, with a history that can be traced back to the early 19th Century.
It all looks very different now. The slowdown in China and Beijing’s switch from a focus on manufacturing to consumption has led to a catastrophic collapse of commodity prices. We are all familiar now with how the oil price has dipped below $50-a-barrel falling more than 50pc. But similar or even greater falls have been recorded in all the major commodity groups from iron to coal and copper to wheat. And the assumption that Glencore, with its trading skills, could insulate itself from this, has proved hopelessly wrong. The mighty have fallen and Glencore’s shares are the biggest losers on the Tenacious: But Ivan Glasenberg is in the fight of his life to save Glencore