(This story was originally published Thursday)
DOHA (Zawya Dow Jones)--Qatar's sovereign wealth fund Thursday lifted its stake in miner Xstrata PLC (XTA.LN), which is merging with commodities trader Glencore, to over 10%, forging ahead with its recent spate of share-buying in European blue-chip companies.
Qatar Holding, the overseas investment arm of the country's wealth fund, now owns more than 301 million shares in the diversified mining group including options, giving the Gulf state a 10.047% holding in the company, according to a regulatory filing.
The wealthy emirate, which has invested heavily in the broader commodities sector this year, has been steadily building its stake in Xstrata over recent weeks. Earlier Thursday it raised its holding to 9.43%.
Glencore and Xstrata are seeking shareholder and regulatory approval for a merger of equals that would create a natural commodities juggernaut with a market capitalization of $68 billion based on current prices. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.
Qatar is widely expected to approve deal when it's put to a vote next month, according people familiar with Qatar's approach to investment.
Qatar would own 6.27% of the combined company according to a merger document filed last week, making it second largest shareholder in the entity after Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg who will own 8.7%.
Through its sovereign wealth fund, which controls more than $100 billion of assets,
In recent months, Qatar has stepped up its investments in large European companies, using its vast gas wealth to accumulate a growing list of minority stakes in firms like Total SA (TOT), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) and Siemens AG (SI).
-By Alex Delmar-Morgan, Dow Jones Newswires; +974 6659 9818; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 09, 2012 03:14 ET (07:14 GMT)