South Africa regulator approves Xstrata, Glencore merger

JOHANNESBURG Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:25am EST

The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Baar November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Baar November 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Competition Tribunal on Tuesday gave the green light to the proposed takeover of global miner Xstrata XTA.L by commodities trader Glencore (GLEN.L).

However, the tribunal attached some conditions to the $33 billion deal to limit the merger's impact on job losses in the crucial mining sector.

One of the conditions stipulates that job losses among skilled workers be limited to a maximum of 80 workers, the tribunal said in a statement.

Job losses among unskilled or semi-skilled workers shall be limited to 100 and may only take place more than two years after the merger has been fully approved by all affected jurisdictions.

The job loss conditions do not include voluntary leave or early retirement packages and would also not apply to workers who refuse to be redeployed.

The approval of the merger in South Africa went through smoothly after power utility Eskom withdrew its objections last week following an agreement with Glencore that would limit the impact of the merger on its coal supplies.

The utility relies on coal-fired plants to generate 85 percent of the electricity that powers Africa's biggest economy and was keen to ensure the merger did not hamper its ability to obtain timely, sufficient and competitively priced coal.

Glencore is still waiting for the go-ahead for the deal from antitrust authorities in China, having already received a conditional approval from European regulators.

Last Friday Glencore pushed back the date for completion of the long-awaited tie-up to March 15, citing lengthy regulatory processes in South Africa and China.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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