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by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) June 4, 2012
Shareholders on Monday voted in favour of Gloucester Coal's tie-up with China's Yancoal, paving the way for what is expected to be Australia's largest listed coal firm.
The approval comes after the Australian government's foreign investments watchdog gave the go=ahead to the deal in March and after the merger met Hong Kong Stock Exchange regulations. It still requires Chinese regulatory approval.
"Gloucester shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the scheme of arrangement for the proposed merger of Gloucester and Yancoal Australia Limited," the company said in a statement.
The deal approved by 99.98 percent of votes cast will see the creation of a newly-merged coal titan, with resources of some 3.4 billion tonnes and valued by local media at $8-$9 billion.
Yancoal, the Australian subsidiary of China's Yanzhou Coal, has described the new firm as the "leading listed pure-play coal company in Australia and the ninth-largest globally based on reserves."
The merger, yet to be approved by the Victorian Supreme Court, gives energy-hungry China a greater foothold in Australia's lucrative coal market and comes amid consolidation in the sector.
If approved by the court on Friday, Gloucester's shareholders are set to receive Aus$3.15 cash and a share in the new entity for each of their shares.
Yanzhou, Yancoal's parent company, will initially hold 78 percent of the new firm, Singapore's commodities giant Noble 13 percent and Gloucester's remaining shareholders nine percent.
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