Mining and commodities giant Glencore saw its annual profit tumble on the back of the ongoing slump in the prices of oil and metals and revealed it has accelerated its debt reduction plans, as it aims to sell more assets than expected.
In the 12 months to 31 December 2015, the FTSE 100 group posted a 69% year-on-year drop in adjusted net income to $1.34bn (£960m, €1.23bn), a figure which was slightly higher than what analysts expected.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation tumbled 32% to $8.69bn, although that was in line with analyst expectations, while adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) also fell sharply, plunging 68% year-on-year to $2.17bn.
Glencore revealed it has received bids for the two copper mines it is looking to divest, adding it was considering "further monetisation" of its remaining precious metals production base, alongside other infrastructure and logistic assets.
The group's marketing arm, which trades commodities, reported an 11% year-on-year decline in adjusted EBIT to $2.70bn, slightly higher than analysts' expectations and of the group's guidance, while the mining unit swung to a loss of $292m from a profit $3.9bn in 2014.
The Switzerland-based company said it was feeling the pinch of the recent decline in the prices for copper, nickel, zinc and iron ore, which have all plunged on the back of slowing demand from China, the company's biggest customer, and a global oversupply.
Glencore unveiled plans to lower debt by as much as 40% to $18bn, compared to a target of $25bn by the end of 2015, by selling assets, cutting its dividend and reducing costs in a bid to weather the slump in the commodities sector.
"Financial market sentiment weakened considerably during the course of 2015 amid concerns over slowing economic growth," group chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said.
"The commodity sector was particularly adversely affected by a succession of disappointing China macroeconomic data, declining oil prices, and the strong US dollar. As a result, sector focus quickly switched from cash distribution to balance sheet concerns and cash preservation."
The FTSE 100 group added it had completed asset sales worth $1.60bn so far in 2016, indicating it expects to reach an agreement to sell a minority stake in its agricultural business in the second quarter of this year and was on track to complete asset sales worth between $4bn and $5bn in 2016, compared with an original target of between $3bn and $4bn.