The chief executive of mining group Xstrata has suggested that an independent listing of both his company and commodities giant Glencore would be unsustainable, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
His reported comments, which the business daily took as a hint of a possible merger, came amid persistent reports that Glencore was planning a first stock market listing in the second quarter of this year.
Both companies are Swiss based, but only Xstrata is publicly listed on the London and Swiss stock exchanges.
The FT said Xstrata chief Mick Davis had told analysts in early February that it would be "unsustainable in the longer term" for both giants to be independently listed, according to analysts present.
Industry observers believe Glencore, which holds a 34.4 percent stake in the Anglo-Swiss group, could sell its holding or seek a merger with Xstrata, the newspaper reported.
On Monday, Xstrata announced the retirement of chairman Willy Strothotte after its annual general meeting on May 4.
Strothotte is also chairman of Glencore International AG and his departure from Xstrata would avoid a potential conflict of interest between the two companies.
Recent press reports have suggested that Glencore was planning a share listing in both London and Hong Kong exchanges, with a quarter of Glencore said to be worth $12 billion.
Glencore has declined to comment on the issue.