The commodities, mining and trading behemoth Glencore Xstrata has shown what the vast merger that created it does for the bank balances of its billionaire bosses – create ever bigger dividends.
The chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, is to get a divi for the first full year of the merger of Glencore and Xstrata of $182m (£109m).
In total, the directors carved out more than $500m for themselves in dividends, as the shareholder payout jumped 4.8 per cent on the previous year.
The company's annual revenues total more than quarter of a trillion dollars.
Details of the dividend came as the company reported on flat underlying profits of $13.1bn for a year in which its shares fell 7 per cent despite the FTSE 100 index jumping 12 per cent.
Mr Glasenberg said he had identified $400m more savings than the $2bn he had expected at the time of the merger of Glencore and Xstrata that created the giant.
The company's assets are now so vast, spreading across mining, agriculture and oil and gas around the world, that it is seen as a proxy for the global economy.
Asked what he expected to happen to global commodities prices as a result of the Ukraine crisis, Mr Glasenberg said: "We are all thinking about that. It has taken us by surprise. We have some assets in Ukraine [but not much] while overall Russia is a large exporter of commodities we are involved in. I don't know what repercussions we may see. It's a day-by-day watch. It is politics. We have just got to watch it and react."
Grain and energy prices dropped back yesterday after leaping on Monday as traders panicked.
But, despite the crisis, Glencore Xstrata looked set to strike a near-$1bn deal in Russia.
The company said it would take an equity stake in the Russian oil company Russneft in a deal that highlights how the world's mining and trading giants take the long-term view on geopolitical crises. Glencore Xstrata's revenues are 30 per cent larger than Ukraine's GDP. The deal comes as part of an outstanding loan agreement between the two companies. Russneft has repaid $1.2bn of loans to the London-listed giant over the past year but Glencore Xstrata is now going to convert at least $900m of the balance into equity.
Mr Glasenberg said the company would have a permanent chairman in place by May but declined to comment on speculation Tony Hayward, who was boss of BP during the Gulf oil disaster, would get the job. He is currently temporary chairman.
A previous Glencore chairman, Simon Murray, caused controversy in 2011 when he said young women tended to prefer rearing children to careers. Glencore has no women board members.
Mr Glasenberg said: "We do want to add a woman to our board but a woman who can add value and knowledge."
The billionaire factory: Glencore's richest men
Ivan Glasenberg Shares valued at $10bn in the float, $182m dividend this year
Daniel Mate Shares valued at $3.6bn in the float, $69m dividends this year
Aristotelis Mistakidis $3.6bn in the float, $69m dividends this year
Tor Peterson $3.2bn in the float, $60m dividends this year
Alex Beard $2.76bn in the float, $60m dividends this yearReuse content