* Final approval still needed, expected to be a formality
* Agreement part of wider transparency drive
* Most large firms expected to keep making quarterly announcements
BRUSSELS, May 30 (Reuters) - Listed companies will only be obliged to report their results twice a year from 2015 under new EU rules designed to improve the flow of information and cut bureaucracy.
The rules still need to be approved by European Union governments, but that is expected to be a formality following agreement by representatives of the 27 member states as well as the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Firms are currently required to report four times a year, which can create undue administration and lead to short-termism on markets, the European Commission said on Thursday.
The change is part of a range of reforms on business transparency that also require firms active in the extractive industries - including oil, gas, mining and logging - to disclose payments they make to governments.
Although less frequent publication of company results may appear to reduce transparency not improve it, EU officials and politicians said it would ensure smarter reporting.
While smaller companies are expected to seize the opportunity to scrap quarterly results announcements, saving management time and costs, large firms are mostly expected to keep to quarterly reporting calendars to satisfy shareholders.
The new rules also aim to prevent investors from secretly building up controlling stakes in listed companies. (Reporting by Claire Davenport; editing by Barbara Lewis and Rex Merrifield)