Nokia shareholders “overwhelmingly expressed their support” for the company’s proposed €15.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, ticking off one of the final processes required to get the deal completed.

The announcement follows “earlier than expected” receipts of all regulatory approvals required to proceed with the deal, and the filing of French and US public exchange offers for Alcatel-Lucent securities.

Nokia, as scheduled, held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to approve a number of resolutions supporting the deal and maintained that the transaction is expected to close in its revised timeframe of Q1 2016.

One resolution to authorise the Nokia board to issue new shares for the deal received 99.49 per cent support from shareholders.  The company did not publish any other voting figures.

Up until October this year, the company had said it would complete in H1 next year, but it then secured a vital approval from the French Ministry of Economy.

“We are delighted that the vast majority of Nokia’s shareholders recognise the long term value creation opportunity that this proposed combination represents,” said Rajeev Suri, president and CEO at Nokia.

Suri said Nokia now “encouraged” Alcatel-Lucent shareholders and bondholders to tender their securities into the public exchange offer, as part of the next stage of the process.

“By doing so, they would play an important role in helping to create a new leader in the next-generation technology and services for an IP connected world,” he added.

Nokia said closing of the deal is now subject “only to the satisfaction of the minimum tender condition, or, if this condition is waived by Nokia, the crossing of the mandatory minimum acceptance threshold”.

First announced in April this year, the tie-up between the vendors has gone through a rigorous worldwide approval process, receiving the green light in a number of key markets, including Brazil, India, across Europe and the US.