London - Commodities trader Glencore , just over a month away from completing its takeover of miner Xstrata, posted a 25 percent drop in 2012 net income, with its trading division helping to cushion the impact of lower prices.
That drop was smaller than most of Glencore's diversified mining peers, which have recorded some of the sharpest falls in profit in a decade.
Including an impairment related to a reclassification of its holding in Russian aluminium producer RUSAL after losses in 2012, Glencore's net income fell 75 percent.
Xstrata, reporting separately from Glencore for what should be the last time before the two complete a record tie-up, wrote down the value of nickel, zinc and platinum assets, dragging its net profit almost 80 percent lower.
Excluding the writedown, its profit dropped a smaller-than-expected 37 percent drop.
Investors had hoped that Glencore, the world's largest diversified commodities trader, would use the results announcement to give details of its post-takeover strategy - from target assets to additional synergies.
But the company, still awaiting Chinese regulatory approval for the long-planned deal, left investors guessing for now.
Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg signaled there could be news soon after the merger completes next month, when the company will announce its divisional heads and further indications of progress on its review of the combined portfolio.
Glasenberg, a fierce dealmaker even in turbulent times, said opportunistic acquisitions were not off the agenda, adding Glencore could stand to benefit as a new generation of bosses at major mining houses sold non-core assets.
“Those opportunities will be there - that is something new in the industry,” Glasenberg said.
Glencore posted a 25 percent drop in net income excluding significant items to $3.06 billion, in line with a consensus forecast of $3 billion.
Its adjusted operating profit, or earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), dropped 17 percent.
A 27 percent drop in the industrial division accounted for the bulk of the weakness as lower production added to industry-wide issues.
Its trading division saw operating profit rise 11 percent, despite weaker activity in its energy division, given low volatility across oil and coal markets.
Glencore also announced a new deadline for the completion of the merger with Xstrata of April 16. - Reuters