September 25, 2018 / 8:06 AM / 10 months ago

Glencore launches $1 billion additional share buyback

An employee of a private security company stands in front of the logo of commodities trader Glencore during the company's annual shareholder meeting in Cham, Switzerland May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann /Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Commodities trader and miner Glencore said on Tuesday it would repurchase more of its shares worth up to $1 billion, increasing the size of an existing buyback programme that followed a subpoena from U.S. authorities.

Glencore said in July it would buy back shares worth up to $1 billion in a programme of purchases running to the end of 2018. It has now extended the programme to the end of February 2019.

The London-listed miner, with a market capitalisation of $61 billion, announced plans to repurchase shares after the U.S. government investigation into bribery and corruption sent the stock down more than 15 percent since the start 2018.

Companies across the mining industry have been handing money back to shareholders after a recovery from the mining and commodity crash of 2015-16 and in response to pressure from investors not to spend cash on buying assets that they say may never deliver returns.

Global miner Rio Tinto said last week it will return $3.2 billion to shareholders from its sale of Australian coal assets in addition to existing buyback programmes.

Glencore’s share price had already been hit by concerns about political risk in Democratic Republic of Congo, where it mines just over a quarter of the global output of cobalt, because of a mining code that was signed into law in June.

After publishing first-half results just below analyst forecasts in August, the company, which has aggressively slashed its debt since 2015, said it would favour share buybacks over deal-making.

Many mining stocks have pared gains over the past few months as metals markets weakened in response to global trade tensions and uncertainty about Chinese demand.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru and Clara Denina in London; Editing by Bernard Orr and Edmund Blair

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