Glencore delays dividend payment decision as coronavirus risk mounts

FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar

LONDON (Reuters) - Glencore <GLEN.L> said on Tuesday it had deferred a decision on its proposed $2.6 billion dividend pay out for this year and said there could be material disruption to production due to the coronavirus epidemic.

A decision would be made in August on the level of any dividend after considering the impact of the coronavirus on the economy and its business, the London-listed commodity miner and trader said. The decision would coincide with interim results.

The proposed cash dividend of 20 U.S. cents per share would be delayed to "strengthen the group’s overall financial position and reflecting that, although none to date, there exists the risk of material production disruption due to COVID-19."

Glencore also extended its current credit facilities to protect its capital structure and improve liquidity.

The company said on Thursday it halted a number of smaller mines due to government restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus but said that its larger operations were not materially impacted.

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru and Zandi Shabalala in London; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel, Edmund Blair and Sonya Hepinstall)