UPDATE 2-EU regulators to clear Holcim, Cemex deal in Germany -sources

Wed Jun 4, 2014 11:16am EDT

* European Commission approval is unconditional

* Cemex addition of Holcim's Spanish unit still under review

* Holcim yet to notify EU on proposed Lafarge merger (Adds Cemex decline to comment, Holcim shares)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, June 4 (Reuters) - Cement maker Holcim will win EU antitrust approval for acquiring the German operations of Mexican rival Cemex, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said, as one side of a swap that gives Cemex assets in Spain.

The European Commission is investigating Holcim's plan to swap its assets in Spain for Cemex's operations in Germany due to concerns that the deal may reduce competition and result in higher prices in both countries.

The sources said on Wednesday the EU competition authority would clear the German deal unconditionally.

The Commission spokesman for competition policy, Antoine Colombani, as well as Switzerland-based Holcim and Cemex declined to comment.

Holcim's shares gained 0.4 percent after the Reuters report and were up 2.6 percent at 80 francs by 1416 GMT.

The Commission is scheduled to decide on the German deal by July 8 and the Spanish case by Sept. 5. The companies unveiled the asset swap plan in August last year.

The Czech competition agency has already cleared a third element of the deal under which Cemex purchased Holcim's Czech business.

Holcim is also preparing to seek clearance for a plan to buy French rival Lafarge to create the world's biggest cement maker. The companies intend to sell about 5 billion euros of assets to ease competition concerns. (Additional reporting by Oliver Hirt in Zurich and Gabriela Lopez in Monterrey; Editing by Barbara Lewis, Jane Baird and Pravin Char)

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