ABUJA- Flour Mills of Nigeria said on Friday it expects regulatory approval for its acquisition of a majority stake in rival Honeywell Flour Mills in the next few days.

"We are now hopefully in the final stages of the regulatory approvals, CEO Boye Olusanya told an analyst call.

Flour Mills of Nigeria said in November it would acquire a 77% stake in rival Honeywell Flour Mills with its own cash and some debt as it eyes opportunities in West African countries. 

Honeywell Flour shares were 0.29% higher at 3.50 naira each by 1415 GMT while Flour Mills traded flat at 28.80 naira.

The pasta maker said the acquisition was necessary to defend its market share, broaden it product range and build scale especially as Nigeria joins the continental free trade zone with an anticipated increase in competition.

In 2019, Singapore-based commodity trader Olam International agreed to buy Nigeria's Dangote Flour Mills for an enterprise value of 130 billion naira ($313.13 million).

Flour Mills, which generates 80% of its sales from food and agro-business, plans to expand its reach in Nigeria and also cash in on demand for wheat-based products in the region.

($1 = 415.1600 naira)

(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan) ((chijioke.ohuocha@thomsonreuters.com; +234 703 4180 621; Reuters Messaging: chijioke.ohuocha.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))