Commodities Giant Hopes IPO Raises $11 Billion

Originally published on May 19, 2011 7:11 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The biggest initial public offering so far this year is taking place in London and Hong Kong today. The giant commodities firm Glencore is hoping to raise $11 billion.

Vicki Barker reports from London.

VICKI BARKER: Swiss-based Glencore was founded in the 1970s by Marc Rich, the fugitive trader famously pardoned for tax evasion and other charges by Bill Clinton on the former president's last day in office. It trades metals and oils, owns mines and smelters. It's big and is famously secretive or was.

Mining analyst Paul Renken describes it as a corporate snail outgrowing its shell.

Mr. PAUL RENKEN (Mining Analyst): The company had realized several years back that if they were going to grow even further from being the large organization that they are, that they had to change the structure of the business itself into a more public entity.

BARKER: Glencore's management insists the recent dip in commodities prices has taken none of the luster off this IPO. Indeed, Glencore is so big and the public offering potentially so rich, that it's expected to rocket up into the FTSE index of top 100 companies by the end of its first day of trading here.

That means thousands of pension funds and mutual funds that track the FTSE 100 will have to hold Glencore stock, in addition to those sovereign wealth funds and other institutional investors betting on the world's continuing hunger for coal and oil and cement and metals.

For NPR News, I'm Vicki Barker, in London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.