Xstrata gets EU antitrust approval for WMC bid

Jan 25 | Updated: Jan 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
Xstrata Plc, the worlds biggest exporter of coal for power plants, won EU antitrust approval for its bid for Australian mining company WMC Resources Ltd to expand metals output.

The European Commission, the 25-nation EUs antitrust regulator, approved the transaction in a statement released in Brussels today.

Xstrata, based in Zug, Switzerland, in November made a A$7.4 billion ($5.7 billion) hostile takeover bid for the worlds fifth largest nickel producer after WMCs board rejected the same bid on October 28.

Buying Melbourne-based WMC would make Xstrata the worlds sixth largest copper producer and add nickel mines to its assets amid soaring demand in China, the worlds biggest copper user.

WMC has said Xstratas bid undervalues a potential expansion of its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.