Glencore was founded in 1974 as Marc Rich + Co AG, and initially focused on the physical marketing of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, minerals and crude oil, before expanding into oil products shortly thereafter. In the early 1980s, Glencore acquired an established Dutch grain trading company, which created the basis for its Agricultural Products business group. Coal was later added to the Energy Products group. There was a management buyout in 1994 and the company was renamed Glencore International.
Over the years Glencore has evolved from an organisation solely marketing commodities sourced from third parties into a diversified natural resources group through the acquisition and development of farming, mining, smelting, refining and processing production assets.
The first equity investment was made in an industrial asset in 1987 when Glencore acquired 27 percent of the Mt. Holly aluminium smelter in the United States and also acquired the first controlling interest in an industrial asset in 1988 though a purchase of a 66.7% interest in a zinc/lead mine in Peru. Today, Glencore and its subsidiaries own production assets across a diverse range of commodities.
In addition, Glencore directly or indirectly holds significant stakes in many publicly-listed companies, including Xstrata plc. (listed in London and Zurich), Century Aluminum (listed on NASDAQ), Katanga Mining (listed in Toronto), UC Rusal (listed in Hong Kong) and Chemoil Energy (listed in Singapore).
In May 2011, Glencore became a public company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
Since 2 May 2013 the company Glencore Xstrata plc was created through a merger. It is now an Anglo–Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company headquartered in Baar, Switzerland and with its registered office in Saint Helier, Jersey.