Qatar PM says looking favourably at Glencore/Xstrata tie

DUBAI Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:02am EDT

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DUBAI Oct 15 (Reuters) - Qatar, the second-largest investor in miner Xstrata, is looking favourably at the company's proposed merger with commodities trader Glencore, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said on Monday.

Asked at a news conference if Qatar would support a merger, Sheikh Hamad said: "It is under a lot of consideration and focus. We are looking in favour of a merger between the two companies."

The tiny, gas-rich Gulf state has become an unexpected kingmaker in Glencore's bid for Xstrata, the world's fourth largest diversified miner.

Glencore bid in February for the shares in Xstrata it did not already own, launching one of the resources sector's biggest-ever takeover deals. It was forced to raise its price after Qatar opposed the deal.

Sheikh Hamad did not comment specifically on whether Qatar was satisfied with all aspects of the raised bid, or whether the Gulf state would ultimately cast its vote for the merger.

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