Counting the Cost

Glencore: Taking over the world?

We look at the world’s biggest listed commodities trader and its controversial start to public life.

Glencore, the world’s biggest commodities trader, located about 30 kilometres outside Zurich, Switzerland, has not been a big name in the public domain, because it has been in private hands for almost 40 years.

But now it represents 2011’s biggest sharemarket listing, or IPO, and in floating on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, Glencore has almost instantly opened itself up to all sorts of criticism.

Valued at $58bn, Glencore is the world’s biggest listed trader of commodities by capitalisation – and that means it dominates the market in a way few other companies do.

Also, my word is my bond … but what is a bond? It struck us this week that while they have a real stranglehold on Europe at the moment, and as such feature regularly on Counting the Cost, we have never really explained what sovereign bonds are.

Andrew Dell, the head of debt capital markets for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at HSBC Bank explains all about one of the most crucial financial instruments in the world today.

Also, Google is arguably becoming more dominant and certainly more diverse. Its latest move is a “mobile wallet” – you essentially use your phone as a credit card, but is it opening itself up to all sorts of security concerns?

And another look at future technology: French company Alcatel-Lucent was almost written off a few years ago after 10 years of losses. But the company is now under new leadership and has become big in 4G telecoms technology – which opens up a whole new world of possibilites.

Counting the Cost airs each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630.