Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC) and investment house Fidelity are among six parties ready to loan Glencore up to $1.5bn (£900m) in exchange for stakes in the world's biggest commodity trader.
Switzerland-based Glencore is looking to raise cash in the wake of the fall in commodities prices, though at one stage it was aiming for $2bn.
It is understood that the loans would be converted to equity at the time of a probable flotation in 2012. Speculation has raged all summer that Glencore, best known for its 35 per cent stake in Ftse-100 copper giant Xstrata, is considering a stock market listing valuing the trader at up to $40bn.
Citi and Morgan Stanley are working for Glencore, and though there is no formal mandate, they have each approached three potential investors. Morgan Stanley is in talks with First Reserve Corporation, the US-based energy investor; Temasek Holdings, the Singapore government vehicle; and CIC. Citi is talking to institutional investors BlackRock and Capital Group, both of which have significant stakes in Xstrata, and Fidelity.
A mining source said: "Glencore is looking for $1bn-to-$1.5bn. How much equity this would represent ahead of a flotation – say, five or 10 per cent – is still up for discussion."
The source added that Glencore hoped to complete the deal by the end of the year, but it was not certain that all six parties would participate. "Maybe not all of them will be there at the finish, but that's ok for the rest as they will have a bigger involvement in Glencore," added the source.
London is the likely destination for a listing, as the City is considered the financial centre of world mining.
In the first six months of this year, Glencore's revenue slumped to $45.2bn from $86.2bn in the first half of 2008. Notoriously secretive, the group's relative openness about recent results only intensified rumours that it was looking at a public listing.
Glencore was co-founded by Marc Rich in 1974. Mr Rich was indicted in 1983 on more than 50 charges, including trading with Iran during the US embassy hostage crisis. He was pardoned by president Bill Clinton on his last day in office in 2001. Today, Glencore is run by its chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, a South African who is a non-executive director at Xstrata.
Xstrata is in the middle of a merger tussle with Anglo American. Mick Davis, Xstrata's chief executive, has suggested a "merger of equals", though most industry observers believe he will have to offer Anglo shareholders a premium to secure the deal.
Anglo shares closed at 2,021p on Friday, up 2.17 per cent on start of the day's trading. Xstrata was up 4.36 per cent to 826.5p.Reuse content