Belfast Telegraph

Glencore partners to get millions when firm floats on stock market

By Rob Hastings

It has been called the biggest company you've never heard of, and this secretive business is about to make its partners some of the richest people on the planet. When commodities trading firm Glencore floats on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges later this month, 485 of its employees will put bankers bonuses in the shade by effectively divvying up £36.6bn between them - giving them an average share of £60m each.

The biggest winner will be Glencore's South African chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, who has £5.2bn coming his way if estimates of his 15% stake are accurate.

The Swiss-based company, whose staff are described by the Reuters news agency as "young, arrogant, and often brilliant", increased its profits by 40% to £2.2bn last year.

Oil is not Glencore's only business, however.

It also makes its money from trading in other key global commodities such as copper, iron ore and sugar, and has huge stakes in logistics and mining companies. This includes a third of Xstrata, which in itself is worth £38bn. Recent volatility in world stock prices, caused by the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis had been expected to delay its flotation by several weeks. But the company is now widely expected to finally make a formal announcement of its flotation plan on Thursday.

That could raise between £5.8bn and £7bn, even with only a fifth of its shares going on sale.

These shares are currently all owned privately by partners, but potential investors - the likes of fund managing behemoth BlackRock and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority - are said to be queuing up to buy.

The top 12 Glencore executives own 31% of the company. Willy Strothotte, the company's 66-year-old chairman, is another man about to shoot up that magazine's list of billionaires, while the company's chief financial officer Steven Kalmin and oil director Alex Beard will also do well.