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

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

to announce before the London stock market opens on Wednesday whether to seek more time for talks on a $45 billion merger.

"I think the companies now have a very clear understanding of 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 meetings now that started half an hour or so ago. They will go on possibly for some hours and they will make the decision whether they think that the parties are close enough together to warrant seeking an extension of time from the stock exchange and working on the deal further," he said.

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

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Sebastian Moffett)