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Glencore disappoints despite rising profits

Glencore, the commodity-trading giant which began life as public company with a blockbuster listing last month, missed forecasts with its maiden results yesterday.

The group's adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose by 45 per cent to $1.8bn (£1.1bn) in the first three months of the year, compared with Deutsche Bank's estimate of $1.94bn. Net income was also higher, climbing by 47 per cent to $1.3bn over the first quarter.

"The earnings were 6 per cent below our expectations and that was mainly driven by a slightly disappointing number in the marketing business," Paul Cliff, an analyst at Nomura, said.

Glencore said adjusted EBIT from its metals and minerals marketing activities was down around 20 per cent at $263m following "a particularly strong first quarter" last year. The oil-marketing division stood out, however, with strong gains following a challenging 2010.

The company struck a positive note on outlook, saying that it remained well positioned for 2011. Glencore, whose shares stood at 500p, down 23.4p, last night, closing below its initial offer price of 530p, said that despite the recent volatility in commodity prices, the "underlying fundamentals across many of our key commodities are supportive".

Chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said: "Our first-quarter results show that Glencore continues to deliver shareholder value whilst emphasising the unique benefits of having large-scale marketing and industrial asset activities spread across a diversified commodity base."

Mr Glasenberg added that the group's listing had seen considerable support from equity investors for the trader's "business model, strategy and ability to deliver superior returns over the long term".