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EU to investigate Holcim, Cemex deal in Germany

BRUSSELS, Oct 22 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators are investigating whether Swiss cement maker Holcim's proposed takeover of Mexican rival Cemex's operations in Germany will reduce competition and result in higher prices for consumers.

Holcim and Cemex revealed plans in August to exchange some assets and combine others in Europe in response to tough conditions in the construction industry.

The European Commission said it will decide by March 10, 2014, whether to clear the deal.

"The Commission's initial market investigation indicated that the proposed transaction may substantially lessen competition in parts of Germany and Belgium," the EU competition authority said in a statement.

"In particular, the Commission is concerned that the transaction could enable cement producers active in Germany and Belgium to coordinate their market behaviour, or facilitate such coordination."