Glencore said to have explored Australia listing

After the merger with Rio Tinto Group was spurned.

Glencore, whose offer to merge with Rio Tinto Group was spurned, has explored a stock-exchange listing in Australia, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Executives at the Baar, Switzerland-based commodities trader spoke to some large investors this summer to gauge their receptiveness to a secondary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange, two of the people said. No final decision has been made and it is not clear if the idea is still being actively considered, they said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

Glencore is listed in London, Hong Kong and Johannesburg. Australia would be an attractive addition as it offers the opportunity to broaden the company’s shareholder base in a country where investors understand mining stocks, one of the people said.

Rio, based in London, said this week it rejected a merger approach from Glencore, which would have created the world’s biggest miner, valued at more than $160 billion. After being rebuffed by the board, Glencore reached out to Rio’s biggest investor, Aluminum Corp. of China, to gauge its interest in a potential deal in the next year, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.

Glencore has said it is no longer actively considering an offer for Rio, barring it in most circumstances from making a renewed bid for six months under U.K. takeover rules.

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While Glencore’s interest in an Australian listing predates the Rio approach, according to one of the people, trading shares in the country would make it easier for Rio’s Australian shareholders to participate in a offer that includes stock, another person said.

Rio, whose stock trades in Sydney and London, is a corporate icon and investor mainstay in Australia and gets more than 80% of its profit from giant iron-ore mines in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Rio slipped 2.6% to A$57.49 in Sydney trading at 1:38 p.m. local time as the broader market declined 1.6%. Glencore lost 3.5% in Hong Kong trading.

Any move by Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg to revive the pursuit stands to face concerted political opposition in Australia, the world’s biggest exporter of iron ore and coal. Glencore is one of the largest mining companies operating in the country with significant energy coal operations in New South Wales, the Mt. Isa copper and gold mine in Queensland state, the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory and nickel projects in Western Australia.

Glencore’s Glasenberg made a verbal offer to Rio Chairman Jan Du Plessis in July, a person with knowledge of the matter said this week. Glencore shares had risen 8.4% this year in London at Thursday’s market close, compared to a 4% decline in the benchmark FTSE 100 Index.

A spokesman for Glencore declined to comment.

©2014 Bloomberg News

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