August 12, 2017 05:19 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Glencore tycoon eyes electric car bonanza

Glencore tycoon eyes electric car bonanza

Amid Volvo’s move to only electric car production and governments’ focus on cutting emissions, experts predict production of the vehicles could soar 12,000 per cent in 15 years.

Mining tycoon Ivan Glasenberg is eyeing his next fortune – from the electric car boom.

His Anglo-Swiss firm Glencore is one of the globe's leading producers of cobalt, copper and nickel, all vital for electric car batteries.

Amid Volvo's move to switch to electric-only car production and governments' focus on cutting carbon emissions, experts predict production of the vehicles could soar 12,000 per cent in 15 years.

Chief executive Glasenberg said yesterday: 'Just looking at those figures, they are phenomenal.'

Amid Volvo’s move to switch to electric-only car production and governments’ focus on cutting carbon emissions, experts predict production could soar 12,000% in 15 years

Amid Volvo's move to switch to electric-only car production and governments' focus on cutting carbon emissions, experts predict production could soar 12,000% in 15 years

He said the requirement for copper would mean demand for another 2m tonnes of the metal a year, adding said: 'This is a phenomenon that definitely will have a major effect on nickel, cobalt and copper prices and the amount of production that the world is going to need.

'So we believe with that scenario we are well positioned for the future – we are very diversified by country. We are not reliant on one particular country.'

His comments came as Glencore said half-year profits rose 68 per cent to £5.1billion, helped by recovering commodities prices.

Debt fell by £1.2billion since the end of last year, to £10.6billion and, as announced in December, it is paying a dividend this year of £800million. 

It marks a major turnaround for the company that was heavily shorted in 2015 amid a slowdown in demand from China, forcing Glasenberg, 60, to buy £160million worth of shares as part of a £1.6billion share issue.

He and other directors are now reaping the rewards of their faith in the company, whose share price has rocketed more than 350 per cent since lows of 73p in 2016 to around 331p yesterday.

But analysts at Jefferies said they were 'slightly disappointed' the company did not announce an anticipated extra return to shareholders yesterday. 

Glencore is particularly well-placed to cash in on the boom in electric cars because of its cobalt mines in the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo.

Glasenberg, said it was well protected even if instability prevented them from producing copper from the mines, because that would push the price up globally, benefiting their other sales.

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