PARIS, July 21 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)