Glencore trades at the top of the market

The timing of Glencore's IPO could signal the peak of the commodity cycle.
Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg
Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg

When a normally publicity-shy company comes out of the shadows, observers are right to be a little wary. Particularly if that firm has a murky past and is the leading player in markets that have recently enjoyed a spectacular bull run.

Last week, Glencore announced plans to raise $12 billion in a global initial public offering. With a 20% stake on sale, the deal would value the Zug-based commodities trader at around $60 billion. The company has grown rapidly since management bought out controversial former tax-fugitive Marc Rich for $600 million in 1994. It now dominates trading in base metals, is prominent in soft commodities such as wheat, and...

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