* Glencore says overall Q3 performance "good"
* Says marketing saw "healthy improvement"
* Shareholders to vote on Xstrata merger on Nov. 20
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON, Nov 1 Glencore said its closely
watched trading operations performed "strongly" in the third
quarter, against a more uneven picture for its mines, where
strikes and Congo power cuts dampened growth.
Glencore, in the throes of a $33 billion takeover of miner
Xstrata, said in a trading update that its overall
performance was "good" in the three months to the end of
September, despite weaker commodity prices and tough global
economic conditions it said would not improve any time soon.
"(The third quarter) saw a healthy improvement," Glencore
said of its marketing - or trading - operations, which accounted
for just over a third of profit last year, but are seen as a
bellwether and less easily forecast by the market than the
industrial arm, made up of mines, farms and oil fields.
"Glencore's outlook for the remainder of the year in
marketing remains positive."
Glencore's industrial operations provide the larger share of
profit and volume growth was more uneven. The most significant
improvements were in its nascent oil division, gold and coal -
the latter boosted by acquisitions over the past year which
helped offset the impact of strikes in Colombia.
Analysts said the numbers and positive commentary on
marketing were broadly in line with expectations, lifting shares
in Glencore just 0.5 percent at 0920 GMT, marginally
outperforming a flat UK mining sector.
Among trouble spots in Glencore's industrial arm was the
Katanga operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hit by
power outages which cost the group 49 days of production over
the first nine months of the year.
Power cuts are a huge hurdle for miners operating in the
African country, devastated by years of war and
under-investment, and have clouded Congo's aspirations of
returning to production levels on a par with neighbouring
A new power converter, which should help sustain more
regular power supplies to Katanga, has been delayed after
transport strikes in South Africa and a separate strike last
month on the border between Congo and Zambia.
Copper production there was up 3 percent over the period,
but rose over 9 percent over the third quarter.
Copper production rose at other major operations, including
Mutanda, also in Congo, and Mopani, in Zambia.
At Kazakh producer Kazzinc, where Glencore increased its
stake to just under 70 percent last month, the group saw gold
production increase 18 percent over the nine months and 30
percent over the quarter, as the precious metal was prioritised
over the production of other metals, including lead.
Coal production more than doubled over the nine months,
thanks to the inclusion of recently acquired South African
producers Umcebo and Optimum, which helped offset weakness at
Colombia's Prodeco, hit by a strike at its La Jagua mine.
Oil from its Equatorial Guinea operation was ahead of
schedule. Glencore's Alen field is on target for first
production in the second half of 2013.