The last big independent British materials firm will become part of the world's second largest materials company

The European Commission has given the go-ahead to HeidelbergCement’s £8bn takeover of Hanson, the last large independent British materials firm.

The deal will make the combined company the second largest materials company in the world, behind Lafarge.

The EC did not identify antitrust problems with the businesses, saying they were essentially complementary. Heidelberg makes cement and ready-mixed concrete, and sells throughout Europe, whereas Hanson focuses on aggregates and is mainly active in Britain. The companies also have operations in the US.