Glencore Xstrata merger gets Chinese approval

China has approved commodities trader Glencore's $64 billion merger with mining group Xstrata.

The long-awaited approval from Beijing came after Glencore agreed to sell its stake in Xstrata's copper mining project in Las Bambas, Peru to a buyer approved by Chinese authorities.

It also agreed to supply a minimum volume of copper concentrate to China for a period of eight years.

Separately, Xstrata announced that its chief executive Mick Davis would not take the same role at the combined group for six months as had previously been intended – allowing Glencore's South Africa-born CEO Ivan Glasenberg to take control of the company straight away.

Mr Davis will "step down from Xstrata plc upon completion of the merger, currently expected to be 2 May 2013," Xstrata said in a statement.

He will receive a £4.6 million payment on top of the £9.6 million he was already due as part of the deal.

He will act as a consultant to the combined group until June 30 to assist with an orderly handover.

"I look back on the past eleven years at Xstrata with enormous satisfaction. I have had the great pleasure and privilege of working with a talented and committed group of leaders. Together we were able to build a $50 billion global company from a $500 million minnow, delivering significant returns to our shareholders in the process," Davis said. "At the same time we created a unique culture that empowered individuals to perform and identify opportunities to create value, while making a positive and lasting contribution to the communities and countries in which we work."

The merger will create one of the world's biggest metals and commodities firms.

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