Glencore Wins South Africa Competition Approval for Xstrata Deal

Glencore International Plc won approval from South Africa’s antitrust regulator for its $36 billion takeover of coal producer Xstrata Plc, leaving Chinese agreement as the sole outstanding requirement for the deal.

“The merger may be implemented in South Africa,” the Pretoria-based Competition Tribunal said in a statement today. The merged company needs to limit the number of job cuts for skilled workers to 80 and those for unskilled employees to 100, it said.

Glencore, the Baar, Switzerland-based commodities trader, and Xstrata said last week they were extending the deadline for completing the deal to March 15 from Jan. 31, as regulatory processes in South Africa and China “remain ongoing.” Glencore on Nov. 22 won European Union approval to create the fourth-largest mining company after offering to end a zinc-purchase agreement with Nyrstar NV and sell its stake in the company.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-run power utility, agreed Jan. 18 to withdraw its intervention in the transaction after reaching an accord with Glencore and Zug, Switzerland-based Xstrata over coal supplies. The terms the companies agreed to are confidential, a point criticized by competition regulator Deputy Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele at a Pretoria hearing as “not desirable.”

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers, which also raised concern about the deal, is satisfied, NUM representative Lungile Tyatya told the hearing. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s issues with the deal were aligned with Eskom’s and have also been settled, Nandi Mokoena, a spokeswoman for the tribunal, said in e-mailed comments yesterday.

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