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Feb. 18, 2020, 2:54 a.m. EST

Glencore swings to loss, but earnings beat views

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By Adria Calatayud

Glencore PLC said Tuesday that it swung to a net loss in 2019 on impairment charges but its adjusted earnings beat analysts' expectations.

The Anglo-Swiss miner and commodities trader reported a loss of $404 million for 2019 compared with a profit of $3.41 billion in the prior year. The company booked impairment charges of $2.8 billion, it said.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization--a key metric for the company, which strips out exceptional items--came to $11.60 billion, down 26% on year but ahead of consensus expectations of $11.25 billion, according to a Vuma consensus estimate based on forecasts by 18 analysts.

Revenue fell to $215.11 billion in 2019 from $220.52 billion a year earlier, the company said.

"We are closely watching coronavirus developments and potential scenario impacts on global growth and markets," Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said. Mr. Glasenberg said Glencore's business has defensive cashflow characteristics, stemming primarily from marketing activities, but also from its exposure to precious metals and infrastructure.

Glencore said it projects a reduction of around 30% by 2035 in absolute scope 3 emissions--all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company--as part of its commitment to a low-carbon economy.

Glencore ended 2019 with net debt of $17.56 billion. Analysts polled by Vuma expected net debt at $17.12 billion.

The company kept its dividend unchanged at 20 cents a share.

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