UK's Hammond-sees BAE/EADS announcement before Weds. market open

BRUSSELS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - British Defence Secretary PhilipHammond said on Tuesday he expects BAE Systems and EADS

to announce before the London stock market opens onWednesday whether to seek more time for talks on a $45 billionmerger.

"I think the companies now have a very clear understandingof the positions and the red lines of the governments involved,"Hammond said at a NATO defence ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"I understand the companies have gone into board meetingsnow that started half an hour or so ago. They will go onpossibly for some hours and they will make the decision whetherthey think that the parties are close enough together to warrantseeking an extension of time from the stock exchange and workingon the deal further," he said.

"They will make an announcement, as I understand it, beforethe London Stock Exchange opens tomorrow," he said.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Sebastian Moffett)