[LONDON] Qatar's sovereign-wealth fund participated in a US$2.5 billion stock offering by Glencore Plc last month, maintaining its status as the largest investor in the commodities trader, people familiar with the matter said.
Qatar Holding LLC, the direct investment arm of the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, bought 8.9 per cent of the shares offered in the sale to keep its stake in the Switzerland-based company intact, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Glencore sold the shares at a price of 125 pence per share, meaning Qatar's fund invested about US$225 million in the offering.
Qatar's participation is a boost to Glencore Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg, who is trying to cut the company's debt pile and win back investor confidence after a slump in its share price. As well as the share sale, the company's plan to reduce debt includes asset sales, spending cuts and suspending the dividend. Although, the stock has more than recovered its losses since a record 29 per cent plunge a week ago, it's still fallen 60 per cent this year as the prices of commodities including have copper and coal have dropped.
Qatar hasn't made a regulatory filing on the size of its holding since the stake sale was announced, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Qatar became Glencore's top shareholder after the commodities trader's acquisition of Xstrata Plc in 2012. The wealth fund, which had accumulated a stake in Xstrata ahead of the merger, voted in favour of the deal after Glencore agreed to raise its offer.
Glencore is also in talks with investors, including the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, to sell a minority stake in its agriculture business, people familiar with the matter said Oct 2.
A representative for Qatar Holding declined to comment.