Glencore raises its offer for Xstrata merger
SWITZERLAND - Agence France-Presse
Commodities giant Glencore’s logo is seen in front of the company’s headquarters in the Swiss town of Baar.A blockbuster merger between commodities giant Glencore and mining group Xstrata may be salvaged as Glencore on Sept. 7 offered to raise its offer, after shareholder Qatar demanded better terms.
Qatar Holding, which is wholly owned by Qatari’s sovereign wealth fund, said last week it opposed the previous terms of the merger which if completed would create a commodities behemoth worth around 69.8 billion euros ($87.3 billion) according to the current market capitalisation.
Glencore had flatly refused to budge, but after a last-minute adjournment of a crucial vote on the merger on Friday, it made its new offer to exchange 3.05 of the new group’s shares for every Xstrata share.
It had previously offered 2.8 shares for every existing Xstrata share, while Qatar Holding, which is Xstrata’s second-largest shareholder with a 12 percent stake, had since June been seeking 3.25 shares.
While raising its offer, Glencore also demanded that its chief executive Ivan Glasenberg become the head of the combined group, and that the transaction be structured as a “takeover offer or as a scheme of arrangement of Xstrata”.
Qatar Holding earlier said that “although it continues to support the principle” of the merger, it has determined that it will not support the current terms.
Other shareholders have rallied around Qatar’s new demands.
According to a Financial Times report, Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s oil-backed sovereign wealth fund and has hiked its holdings in Xstrata to 3.0 percent, had “privately indicated” its opposition to the earlier terms of the Glencore-Xstrata merger.
Glencore, which owns nearly 34 percent of its coveted compatriot, is not authorised to vote on the merger.
Xstrata’s and Glencore’s general assemblies were already postponed once in early July due to Qatar’s demand for better merger terms, as well as grumbling over bonuses being handed out to 73 Xstrata top executives, including chief executive Mick Davis.
In the first half of the year, Glencore posted a slightly lower net profit at $2.3 billion, but said it remained in a solid position to grow its revenue.
Glencore deals in a range of products including oil, coal, gold and foodstuffs, but also owns a number of mines worldwide. Its dual listing in Hong Kong and London in 2011 valued it at nearly $60 billion.
Mining giant Xstrata meanwhile saw its net profit slump 33 percent in the first half of the year to $1.9 billion.
Glencore, with a 34-percent stake, has long coveted a full tie-up with Xstrata to create a mining and trading powerhouse. It made its move in February, less than a year after a listing largely motivated by
the desire to do more ambitious deals.
Qatar and Xstrata spokespeople declined to comment.