Xstrata-Glencore merger vote postponed: unions raise concerns

Xstrata has delayed the shareholder vote on a merger with Glencore as investors continue to dictate the offer and unions become more vocal about their concerns over the deal.

The vote, scheduled for July 12, has now been postponed to October, said Xstrata in a statement issued on Thursday.

"Xstrata sought permission from the court to adjourn the meeting due to the proposed changes to the retention award element," said the miner in the statement.

"As a consequence of these proposed changes [Xstrata has] to convene a new extraordinary general meeting."

The announcement came only a day after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approved Glencore's $26 billion takeover of Xstrata.

The CFMEU, an Australian union representing construction, forestry, mining and energy industries, immediately voiced its concern over the deal  attacking the ACCC for approving the merger.

The union, said VP Wayne McAndrew in an e-mailed statement, holds “grave fears” over the proposed merger, given the track record of both companies.

“Xstrata and Glencore are already too powerful in global resources, especially given their poor track record. Further concentrating power in the hands of those known for their propensity to exploit workers and bully governments will only lead to further abuses,” said McAndrew.

The mining giants are spending a combined $200 million on advisers and legal counsel to push the deal through and a collapse would be a blow to a long list of bankers, including: Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.

Apart from shareholders blocking the deal, the European Union is stepping up scrutiny of the mooted merger after steelmakers and other European players "raised fears that the deal could create too powerful a player" in the market for zinc, nickel and coal.

Xstrata said it expects formal notification of the transaction from the European Commission to take place in mid to late August.

With revenues in excess of $200 billion Glenstrata, as it has been dubbed, would become the 4th largest miner on the planet with Xstrata's current management responsible for over 80% of the combined group's earnings, 150 mining and metallurgical assets and 20 major growth projects.