EU regulators clear the way for Glencore Xstrata deal

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 21, 2012 19:41 hrs

EU antitrust regulators have cleared commodity trader Glencore's $32 billion takeover of miner Xstrata, agreeing to virtually seal the deal without requiring major asset sales.

Sources familiar with the matter said the green light — set to be announced on Thursday — meant Glencore would end its zinc sales deal with producer Nyrstar.

But it will not have to sell Xstrata's Nordenham zinc plant in Germany.

The sources had said last week Glencore had offered up Nordenham, which produced 148,000 tonnes of zinc last year, but later discussions meant it avoided the forced disposal.

"No assets will be sold," one of the sources said.

The European Union's competition worries had centred on zinc, used in metal alloys and to prevent corrosion.

A combined Glencore Xstrata would control 50 percent of the European zinc metal market.

Without the Nyrstar agreement, and assuming Nyrstar enters a deal with another trader, analysts at Jefferies estimated earlier this month that the level drops to 34 percent.

The European Union clearance comes less than 24 hours after Xstrata shareholders gave their own green light for the deal, one of the largest in the mining sector to date.

Glencore still needs the merger to be cleared by China's Ministry of Commerce and a final approval from competition authorities in South Africa, before the deal can complete.

Glencore and Xstrata declined to comment.

The European Commission spokesman for competition policy, Antoine Colombani, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Nyrstar could not immediately be reached for comment.

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