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UPDATE 1-EU to clear Cemex, Holcim Spain deal without conditions -source
August 4, 2014 / 3:46 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-EU to clear Cemex, Holcim Spain deal without conditions -source

* European Commission objected to the deal last month

* Commission declines comment

* Commission to publish decision by Sept. 12 (Adds European Commission, Holcim and Cemex decline to comment)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Mexican cement producer Cemex is set to secure unconditional European Union antitrust approval for its planned acquisition of Swiss peer Holcim’s Spanish units, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The European Commission, the EU executive, voiced its objections to the deal last month, another source had told Reuters, ramping up pressure on Cemex to offer concessions to allay its concerns.

Cemex has convinced the European Commission that the deal will not reduce competition in Spain, said the source, who declined to be named because the decision is not yet public.

Commission spokeswoman Emer Traynor, Cemex and Holcim declined to comment on the decision, which will be made public by Sept. 12.

The EU competition watchdog’s preliminary review showed the takeover would substantially curb competition in the grey cement market in certain parts of Spain.

The Spanish deal is part of an exchange of assets between Cemex and Holcim announced in August last year, with the companies looking to cost savings to offset tough conditions in the construction sector.

Holcim gained unconditional EU clearance last month to buy Cemex’s German businesses. It is now in informal talks with the Commission on its plan to merge with French peer Lafarge to create the world’s biggest cement maker.

Securing the EU green light for the Spanish deal will eliminate one potential competition concern over the Lafarge merger. (Additional reporting by Caroline Copley in Zurich and Elinor Comlay in Mexico City; editing by Barbara Lewis and David Clarke)

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