PAPERLINX$171m loss tipPaper merchant PaperlinX expects to lose $171 million this year even after selling its Italian and US arms to stave off death by internet. The company said that it had reached an agreement for the $US76 million ($75.6 million) sale of its US operations, Spicers USA and Kelly Paper, to Central National-Gottesman Inc. It also announced EU competition authorities had cleared the way for the ?45 million ($55.9 million) sale of its Italian business to Lecta. The bulk of the proceeds half from the US sale and more than 70 per cent of the Italian deal will be used to pay off debts, transaction costs and fund redundancies.APPOINTMENTMeller to FSCAn AMP managing director has been appointed the Financial Services Council's deputy chairman. The board of the superannuation group last week unanimously elected AMP Financial Services' Craig Meller for the position. "In his over five years on the board, Craig has brought his extensive financial services industry experience to bear in the formation of industry policy and leadership," the chairman and head of Macquarie Bank's Banking and Financial Services Group, Peter Maher, said.MERGERXstrata hurdleGlencore International Plc and Xstrata Plc will probably change the terms of a planned merger before shareholders vote on it July 12 after criticism of the takeover ratio and payments to managers, HSBC Holdings Plc said. Xstrata holders will vote on Glencore's offer of 2.8 of its own shares for each one of the Swiss thermal-coal exporter and on a retention bonus of as much as #172.8 million ($270 million) to keep 73 Xstrata executives at the merged company. A decision going against either proposal would block the deal. The payments created "specific problems", according to Andrew Keen, a London-based analyst at HSBC, and this should be separated from the merger vote.GROWTHRetail suffersSmall business sales increased in May, but retail continued to suffer the weakest growth of all sectors, new research shows. ANZ's monthly Small Business Sales Trends report shows small business sales were up 6.9 per cent in May from the same month last year and up 3.8 per cent from the start of the year. But the report shows retail small business sales fell short of gains experienced by non-retail, with 4 per cent growth since May last year, compared to 9.2 per cent in non-retail.