April 10, 2015 / 5:56 AM / 5 years ago

Glencore to shift Singapore coal office to Australia

SYDNEY, April 10 (Reuters) - Glencore, the world’ biggest exporter of thermal coal, said on Friday it will close its Singapore sales office to consolidate the business in Australia.

The move comes amid media reports that Australia is pursuing rival miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto for shifting billions of dollars in iron ore profits through marketing hubs in Singapore that pay almost no tax.

In documents given to an Australian senate hearing, Glencore said it was integrating the operations of the former Xstrata, which had established a coal marketing hub in Singapore in 2011. Glencore acquired Xstrata in 2013.

“Following Glencore’s acquisition of Xstrata we have integrated Xstrata’s coal marketing business into Glencore’s global coal marketing function,” it said.

“Australian coal sales will now be done directly from our Australian companies to end customers.”

BHP and Rio Tinto say their Singapore operations were not set up to cut taxes but to be closer to their customers.

Singapore, despite having few natural resources of its own, has used tax incentive programmes, combined with a strong financial sector, high standard of living and a large port, to attract dozens of commodity companies to set up trading operations on the tiny island. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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