By Clara Denina and Muhammed Husain
LONDON (Reuters) – Miner and trader Glencore said on Thursday it would return an additional $4.5 billion to investors, including a share buyback of $3 billion, after it reported a record half-yearly profit mostly due to high coal prices.
Unlike its mining rivals which bowed to investor pressure to exit fossil fuels, Glencore mines thermal coal, whose prices have reached record highs, reflecting shortages during protracted COVID-related lockdowns and the war in Ukraine, and trades millions of barrels of crude oil a year.
Chief Executive Gary Nagle told reporters that very strong coal prices had significantly boosted Glencore’s earnings from its industrial operations, though he also noted the group continued to see inflation pressures across its business, which were a “consistent headwind”.
Shareholder returns of $4.5 billion also include a $1.45 billion special dividend, taking 2022 payouts to $8.5 billion. The company had in February announced $4 billion payout including a dividend and a $550 million share buyback.
The group’s adjusted core earnings or EBITDA more than doubled to $18.92 billion in the six months through June, compared with $8.7 billion a year earlier and above analysts’ expectations of $18.4 billion.
Its trading division’s half-year adjusted operating profit reached $3.7 billion, far exceeding the top end of its long-term annual outlook range of $3.2 billion.
“There is no quick fix to the problems plaguing the energy markets and this should keep prices for the likes of coal and LNG elevated in the second half,” said Joshua Warner, market analyst at City Index.
“However, the outlook for metals looks more complex given supply chain disruptions, rising costs and weakening demand in China.”
($1 = 0.8235 pounds)
(Reporting by Clara Denina in London and Muhammed Husain in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and David Holmes)