Mining and resources group has Glencore agreed to sell a controlling stake in its petroleum products, storage and logistics business to HNA Innovation Finance, part of Chinese conglomerate HNA for $775 million.
The deal, announced mid-afternoon on Friday, pushed London-listed GLENs share up from the day's low of 308.6 pence to close 313.15 pence, but was not enough to match Thursday's closing price of 317.5 pence.
The sale of 51% of the business will see Glencore and HNA form a new company, HG Storage International, which will operate oil storage assets across Europe, Africa and the Americas, in trading hubs where one or the other already has an established presence.
"HG Storage brings together Glencore's expertise in the petroleum products storage business and extensive market knowledge with HNA's global reach and strong position in Asia," Glencore Oil chief Alex Beard said in a statement. "HG Storage's high quality assets are well positioned to take advantage of the future opportunities we expect to be created by the strong market fundamentals for the sector. We also look forward to exploring further potential opportunities for cooperation with HNA in areas of mutual interest."
Glencore said both sides had a mutual commitment to a long-term partnership in HG Storage. They had agreed to an initial three year lock-up period for their interests in the new company.
Glencore has for two years been selling assets to pay down debt, but its deleveraging has recently been paying off with a more stable outlook and a recovering share price.
Last week, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Glencore's long and short term ratings by one notch to Baa2/P-2 and said the outlook on all ratings was now stable.
"The upgrade of ratings recognizes that Glencore has reduced debt, strengthened its leverage profile and re-set its financial framework in 2016," said Elena Nadtotchi, vice president and senior credit officer at Moody's. "The company targets to maintain its improved credit position amid a range of price scenarios. In 2017/2018, Glencore should maintain its improved cost positions, benefit from higher commodity prices and deliver higher earnings and further improvement in leverage."
The deal, which is expected to close in the second half of 2017, comes at what may be the end of a period of high oil storage prices caused by the global oil glut. Production cuts agreed by Opec producers and others in recent months may begin to weigh on storage prices later this year, although oil benchmark prices continue to hover around the $50 a barrel mark.
At 1648 GMT Friday, West Texas Intermediate Crude was quoted at $50.45, while Brent Crude was down 0.53% at $52.68.