In what U.K. newspapers say could be the largest stock market IPO of the year, weekend reports say that the big Swiss-headquartered metals mining and trading company, Glencore International, is moving ever closer to a London IPO.

The report, first published in the Sunday Times, said that Glencore, which owns 34.6% of mega-miner Xstrata, has taken on investment banks Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, is looking at an IPO as soon as April, and is considering floating around 20% of the company to raise over £6 billion.

The commodities giant was set up in 1974 by billionaire commodities trader Marc Rich, then a fugitive from the American courts who sold out to management in 1994. . Rich had been indicted in the US on federal charges of illegally making oil deals with Iran during the late 1970s-early 1980s Iran hostage crisis and tax evasion. He was in Switzerland at the time of the indictment and never returned to the U.S.

If the IPO does go ahead it will be one of the largest ever on the London Stock Exchange. Reports suggest that Glencore is also looking at a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

Glencore is one of the world's largest suppliers of commodities and raw materials, and is also among the world's largest privately held companies. It is one of Europe's largest companies by turnover and is wholly-owned by its management.

With production facilities around the world, Glencore supplies metals, minerals, crude oil, oil products, coal, natural gas and agricultural products to international customers The company was reported to have some 50,000 employees across the world.

The Glencore IPO was reported to be under consideration earlier in the year - as has also been a proposal for a merger with its associate company, Xstrata. This time the reports suggest that an IPO is likely to be a reality in the first half of the year.


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