The Mother of Commodity Offerings

Zurich, Switzerland

Formerly named Mark Rich & Company, Swiss-based Glencore International Limited will sell a stake to the public next month as it seeks to raise up to $11 billion dollars – the biggest IPO in 2011. Other trading houses are contemplating a similar move as most commodities prices sit at nominal new highs.

But this mega-IPO won’t list in New York (NYSE). Rather, Glencore will be dual-listed in London and Hong Kong.

The company is ranked as the world’s largest commodity trader behind privately-held Cargill Inc. and has major stakes in just about every facet of the commodities business. Its largest holding is Xstrata plc (London-XTA), valued at about $28.5 billion dollars.

This is a great time to be a commodities trading house. Share prices for those companies already gone public have surged over the past several years as commodities enjoy a Golden Era after a 20-year bear market ended in 2001.

Probably the best-managed publicly-traded commodities trading house available before Glencore’s arrival next month is ADM (NYSE:ADM), or Archer-Daniels Midland.

ADM has superb management, an impressive Ben Graham-like investment track record and processes key commodities like corn, wheat, soybeans and cocoa. The company has raised its dividend every year over the past decade while also growing its earnings without a hiccup since 2000.

Everyone wants a piece of Glencore. Major institutions have already over-subscribed to the offering. Assuming commodities markets remain buoyant leading up to its planned IPO in May, I suspect it’ll be hottest ticket in 2011 – and beyond.

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