Glencore shareholders embrace Xstrata merger

Shareholders of Swiss commodities giant Glencore overwhelmingly approved a tie-up with Swiss mining giant Xstrata, during an extraordinary general assembly meeting on Tuesday.

A full 99.42 percent of the shareholders voted in favour during the meeting in Zug, in central Switzerland, clearing one of the final hurdles to the massive merger.

If Xstrata shareholders follow suit when they meet later on Tuesday, also in Zug, the new entity should become a reality.

It is set to be called Glencore-Xstrata and to stand as the world's fourth-biggest commodities company in terms of market capitalisation, after BHP Billiton, Vale and Rio Tinto.

While the merger finally appeared to be a sure thing after Xstrata's main shareholder, Qatar Holding -- the main sovereign wealth fund of the energy-rich emirate -- said last month it was satisfied with renegotiated terms, there are still some elements of suspense.

It remains unclear what will happen with an initial plan to hand out massive retention payments to 73 Xstrata executives to ensure they remain with the merged company, which had many shareholders up in arms

According to the revised deal though, the bonuses will no longer be mandatory for the tie-up to go through and Xstrata's departing chief executive will no longer receive a massive payout.

According to the revised conditions, the Xstrata executives are set to receive a total of £144 million (179 million euros, $229 million).

A handful of demonstrators greeted the shareholders as they arrived for the Glencore meeting Tuesday to protest against Xstrata's copper mining activities in Agua Rica, Argentina.

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