Miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON: GLEN) touted on Thursday prospects for its trading unit, saying it faces another strong year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to drive up prices of most commodities the company mines and sells.
Delivering results for the first three months of the year, the Swiss company said earnings from its marketing unit will “comfortably” top the highest end of its guidance range of $2.2 billion to $3.2 billion.
That would make it the third straight year the unit has exceeded the range, as first the covid-19 pandemic and now sanctions against Russia continue to fuel commodity prices.
“Our marketing activities were supported during the quarter by tight physical markets conditions and periods of extreme market volatility,” chief executive Gary Nagle said in the statement.
The forecast comes only days after Glencore shares traded above its initial public offering (IPO) price for the first time since 2011.
The company joined other global miners, including Anglo American (LON: AAL) and BHP (ASX: BHP), which have revised their production targets due partially to labour shortages linked to the covid-19 pandemic.
Following a 14% drop in copper production in Q1, Glencore cut its 2022 guidance for the metal by 3% or 40,000 tonnes. It also lowered its cobalt outlook goals by 6% or 3,000 tonnes because of setbacks at the Katanga mine, in the southern copper belt of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Glencore, which has been struggling with ramping up zinc processing capacity at its operations in Kazakhstan, lowered its production target for the year by 100,000 tonnes.
Nickel and ferrochrome guidance for this year were increased by 3% or 3,000 tonnes and 40,000 tonnes respectively.
Production at the company’s coal mines increased during the quarter despite heavy rains in Australia and South Africa. Output of the fossil fuel rose 16% from the same quarter last year to 28.5 million tonnes, boosted by a deal to take control of the vast Cerrejón mine in Colombia.
Glencore’s production update came ahead of its annual shareholder meeting in Switzerland, where the firm faced shareholders backlash due to what they think has been a “very slow” progress towards the goal of scaling back coal production.
Unlike its major peers, which have quit mining thermal coal or are in the process of exiting the market, Glencore has sought to position itself as a responsible custodian to run its mines to closure by 2050, becoming carbon neutral in the process.
Glencore secured about 76% support for its climate progress report at its AGM on Thursday afternoon, significantly less than the 94% backing it received last year. Influential advisory firms, including BlueBell Capital, Glass Lewis & Co. and Institutional Shareholder Services had urged shareholders to vote against the resolution, citing concerns about board oversight and its coal-mine strategy.
As opposition to its climate progress passed the 20% threshold, Glencore will now have to consult with shareholders.
“We will continue to engage with shareholders on our Climate Transition Action Plan so as to ensure their views are fully understood,” it said in a statement, adding it will provide an update within six months.