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Glencore shares halted pending statement on proposed asset sales

A picture taken on October 10, 2015 shows the logo of Glencore at the Swiss commodity trading giant's headquarters in Baar, central Switzerland.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Glencore Plc, which has flagged divestments as part of a plan to cut debt by about $10-billion after commodity prices plunged, halted trading in Hong Kong Monday pending an announcement on proposed asset sales in Australia and Chile.

The Swiss trader and miner said last month it's planning to raise about $2-billion from the sale of stakes in its agricultural assets and precious metals streaming transactions. While the company didn't identify specific assets in the statement requesting the trading halt, it has copper operations in Chile and coal, zinc and copper mines in Australia.

The potential sales are part of the debt-cutting program that Glencore Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg announced in early September. The plan includes selling $2.5-billion of new stock, asset sales, spending cuts and suspending the dividend. Taken together, the measures aim to reduce debt from $30-billion nearer to $20-billion.

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The company is seeking to raise more than $1-billion by selling future production of gold and silver, two people familiar with the situation said Oct. 1. The company produced 35 million ounces of silver last year and 955,000 ounces of gold from mines in South America, Australia and Kazakhstan.

Investors including Qatar Holding LLC, the direct investment arm of the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, have expressed an interest in buying a minority stake in Glencore's agriculture business, according to three people familiar with the conversations. Citigroup Inc., one of the banks hired to run the sale alongside Credit Suisse Group AG, said earlier this month that the whole business could be worth as much as $10.5-billion.

The company has also announced cuts to copper and zinc output in an effort to support metal markets.

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

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