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Glencore 2014 profit in line, takes $1.1B charge on commodity prices

Glencore took an impairment charge of $1.1 billion (715 million pounds) on lower commodity prices on Tuesday as the miner and commodity trader posted a 2 percent fall in 2014 core profit, meeting analysts' forecasts.

Core adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) totalled $12.8 billion, said Glencore, which has a large trading division in addition to mining and oil assets.

Gianluca Colla | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Earnings from its marketing division rose 15 percent to partially offset a fall in profits from its industrial division.

"The performance of our industrial activities inevitably reflected the weaker price environment, particularly in energyproducts, where price falls were the greatest," the company said in a statement.

Roughly half of the $1.1 billion impairment stemmed from a pause in the development of iron ore projects in Mauritania and Congo Brazzaville as prices plunged.

"These (iron ore assets) were inherited from Xstrata. We didn't spend too much money and rightly we slowed down those operations as in the current environment we wouldn't get the right returns," Chief Financial Officer Steve Kalmin said.

The company also took an impairment on oil exploration activities at the Matanda oil block in Cameroon and in platinum, due to lower commodity prices.

Glencore announced last month its intention to distribute its 23.9 percent stake in platinum producer Lonmin (LMI.L) to its shareholders.

"It has been known to the market we wanted to get rid of it. We didn't get any serious bids," Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said in an interview.

"We decided the easiest way is to give it back to shareholders and for them to decide what to do with that."