Approval near for Solvay deal

Abbott Laboratories is expected to win EU approval this week for its takeover of Solvay’s drugs unit after offering remedies to soothe competition concerns. The €4.5bn (£3.9bn) deal, announced last September, would give US drugmaker Abbott full control of its Belgian development partner’s cholesterol treatments and boost its presence in fast-growing emerging markets. The European Commission extended the deadline for its review of the merger to 11 February after Abbott proposed concessions aimed at ensuring the deal would not hurt competition.