COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

02 August 2021 | Business

Glencore ups expectations for FY trading

Glencore on Friday raised expectations for its trading division following improved market conditions and a surge in commodity prices, but lowered full-year guidance for nickel and coal, citing output disruptions.

The figures are a foretaste of first-half financial results set for Aug. 5. Peers Anglo American and Rio Tinto have dished out higher shareholder pay-outs in 2021 after the commodity rally.

London-listed Glencore said it expects its full-year earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for its marketing or trading division to be at the top end of its annual range between US$2.2 billion and US$3.2 billion.

For output, it left its full-year guidance for copper and cobalt output broadly unchanged, but lowered its expectations for zinc, nickel and coal.

Coal production fell 16% to 48.7 million tonnes in the first half, partly because of market-related cuts in Australia that started in the second half of 2020, and reduced exports from South Africa. -Nampa/Reuters

Anglo American pays out billions

Global miner Anglo American on Thursday boosted its shareholder pay-out to a record US$4.1 billion, sending its stock up almost 5% after bumper commodity prices lifted first-half profits to their best ever.

London-listed shares in Anglo were up 4.8% by 1050 GMT. This was their loftiest since May, when they reached 13-year highs.

Soaring prices for most of Anglo's products, including copper, iron ore and platinum group metals, helped the miner, which was hardest hit among its peers by Covid-19 lockdowns in many African countries, lift first-half profits to a record.

"I still don't think it's our finest hour, that is yet to come. From our point of view, it's a good milestone," Chief Executive Mark Cutifani told reporters after the results.

Surging commodity prices have boosted miners' earnings and emboldened them to dish out high shareholder pay-outs, with Rio Tinto on Wednesday being the first of the global miners to announce a record dividend. -Nampa/Reuters

AB InBev beer sales surge

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, drove second-quarter revenue to above pre-pandemic levels and sharply boosted profit as drinkers took advantage of eased restrictions in its major markets.

A year on from its worst quarter of the Covid-19 crisis, the brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona benefited from increased beer consumption across the Americas, in Europe and South Africa, including a leap of more than 50% in Colombia.

Only in China, which moved out of its coronavirus lockdown earlier in 2020, were beer volumes lower. Michel Doukeris, the former North America zone head who took over as chief executive from fellow Brazilian Carlos Brito on July 1, said revenue in the April-June period was 3.2% higher than in the same period of 2019.

AB InBev retained its forecast that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would grow by between 8% and 12% this year, with revenue increasing by a faster pace with healthy volumes and prices.

In the second quarter, the figure rose 31% on a like-for-like basis to US$4.85 billion, against consensus expectations for a 35% increase, according to a company-compiled consensus. -Nampa/Reuters

Vodafone and Unisys team up

British telecom operator Vodafone said on Wednesday it had partnered with information technology firm Unisys to launch 'Vodafone Digital Factory' to boost its range of IT services as businesses digitise their activity amid the pandemic.

Vodafone hopes to strengthen its portfolio of specialised digital tools for companies looking to integrate their systems or develop specific software for their platforms, said business general manager Daniel Jimenez.

Unisys will help Vodafone's corporate clients integrate and develop technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality or blockchain, Ana Rubia, general manager of Unisys Spain, said in a statement.

Mobile and broadband firms across Europe, struggling with shrinking profit and high costs to meet next-generation connectivity demands, have tried to extract value from their IT, cloud, big data and IoT units amid the acceleration of use cases for such services during the pandemic. -Nampa/Reuters

Union at BHP's mine rejects contract

The union of workers at BHP Group Ltd's Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world's largest, said on Saturday it had voted to reject the company's final labour contract offer, prompting BHP to request government-mediated talks in a last-ditch effort to stave off a strike.

The talks, once confirmed by authorities, will last for 5 to 10 days, according to Chilean labour law. If no agreement is reached, a strike would begin.

The union said in a statement late on Saturday that 99.5% of those who voted had rejected the final contract offer and had approved a strike, suggesting a still wide gap between BHP and its workers despite nearly two months of talks.

Negotiations at the sprawling northern Chile copper mine have been conducted in secret, leaving metals markets on edge. A prolonged strike by the mine's top workers' union would further constrict global supplies of copper and send already high prices even higher.

BHP said in a statement following the union vote that management remained hopeful it could reach a deal with the union during the upcoming government-mediated talks. - Nampa/Reuters