PARIS, July 21 (Reuters) - Cement makers Holcim and Lafarge are in “advanced” talks with European competition regulators over their proposed merger, and have filed formal notifications in five major markets, Holcim Chief Executive Bernard Fontana told the Wall Street Journal.
Antitrust reviews are expected in about 15 countries, and Fontana said filings had already been made in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India and Russia.
“We are on track,” he added.
Switzerland’s Holcim unveiled a deal to buy France’s Lafarge in April to create the world’s biggest cement maker, with $44 billion of annual sales.
In July the companies proposed selling their operations in Austria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Britain, Canada, the Philippines, Mauritius and Brazil to address competition regulators’ concerns about their combined market power.
The asset sales would affect some 10,000 workers out of their global total of 130,000 and account for around 3.5 billion euros ($4.74 billion) of sales.
Fontana said the companies had received more than 100 “marks of interest” from prospective buyers, including private equity funds and other cement makers. ($1 = 0.7384 Euros) (Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Miral Fahmy)