EU sets deadline on Glenstrata deal as UBS backs mega tie-up

THE EUROPEAN Commission has set a deadline of 8 November to decide on the £56bn mega-merger of Glencore and Xstrata, it said on its website yesterday.

Glencore, which filed the notification on Tuesday, is edging closer to a merger with Xstrata. Earlier this week Xstrata directors recommended the tie-up to shareholders, who are set to vote on the deal next month.

EU anti-trust officials now have just over a month to decide on whether to approve, reject or begin a longer probe into the merger.

Regulators are expected to focus on the combined market power of what will be the world’s fourth-largest diversified mining group.

Together, the mining and trading powerhouse would be the world’s largest thermal coal exporter, the top producer of both zinc and ferrochrome and the third largest copper miner.

A source with knowledge of the deal said yesterday that it is “unlikely” the EU will reject the merger, which was first announced in February.

Meanwhile, analysts at UBS yesterday upgraded both Glencore and Xstrata to “buy”, on the basis that the commodities trading giant and the miner were “better together”.

“The combined Glencore and Xstrata will remain the most dynamic company among the UK listed miners,” UBS said in a note, adding the new company would benefit from opportunities to grow through acquisitions.