UPDATE 1-Lafarge about to seek EU approval for merger with Holcim

jueves 9 de octubre de 2014 05:13 GYT

* The pair are "very close" to EU notification -Lafont

* Would not say whether a question of days or weeks

* Says talks constructive, going "like clockwork" (Adds CEO comments, background)

By Natalie Huet and Gilles Guillaume

PARIS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Lafarge and Holcim are about to request approval from the European Commission for their planned merger, Lafarge Chief Executive Bruno Lafont told reporters on Thursday.

"We are indeed very close to (EU) notification," Lafont said on the sidelines of a conference on affordable housing at Lafarge's headquarters in Paris, adding that talks with Brussels had been "constructive" and that the companies were "well on track" to close the deal in the first half of next year.

Lafarge and Holcim unveiled plans in April to create the world's biggest cement group with $44 billion in yearly sales.

But competition watchdogs in some 15 countries, as well as the European Commission, are expected to take a hard look at the deal, which brings together the world's top two cement makers.

To appease regulators, Lafarge and Holcim have drawn up a list of assets they plan to sell worldwide that accounts for some 3.5 billion euros ($4.5 billion) of annual sales and 10,000 workers worldwide.   Continuación...