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Linde and Praxair agree merger

GERMANY/USA: Industrial gas companies Linde and Praxair have announced that they have agreed to merge to create a $30bn business.

Both companies are global suppliers of refrigerants as part of their industrial gases portfolios. While German producer Linde offers a wide range of refrigerants including the new HFO blends and “natural” refrigerants, US company Praxair has a more limited offering of HCFCs, HFCs and “natural” refrigerants.

According to a joint statement, the proposed merger would unite Linde’s long-held leadership in technology with Praxair’s efficient operating model, creating a global leader.

Talks were resumed this month after merger negotiations broke down in September due to a failure to agree certain details, specifically on aspects of governance.

“The strategic combination between Linde and Praxair would leverage the complementary strengths of each across a larger global footprint and create a more resilient portfolio with increased exposure to long-term macro growth trends,” said Steve Angel, Praxair’s chairman and CEO. “We consider this to be a true strategic merger, as it brings together the capabilities, talented people and best-in-class processes of both companies, creating a unique and compelling opportunity for all of our stakeholders.”

“Under the Linde brand, we want to combine our companies’ business and technology capabilities and form a global industrial gas leader. Beyond the strategic fit, the compelling, value-creating combination would achieve a robust balance sheet and cash flow and generate financial flexibility to invest in our future,” said professor Dr Aldo Belloni, CEO of Linde. 

The combined company will be governed by a single board of directors with equal representation from Linde and Praxair. Linde’s supervisory board chairman, professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, would become chairman of the new company’s board. Praxair’s chairman and CEO, Steve Angel, would become CEO and a member of the board.

A new holding company will be formed and based in a neutral member state of the European Economic Area, with the CEO based in Danbury, Connecticut USA. Corporate functions would be appropriately split between Danbury, Connecticut and Munich, Germany.

The agreement is expected to be finalised in the coming months but remains subject to confirmatory due diligence, further negotiations and board approvals of both Linde and Praxair.

There is no assurance that a binding definitive agreement will be reached between the parties, and the consummation of any binding transaction will be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. However, Linde and Praxair say they are confident that any required regulatory approvals, including any required divestitures, could be obtained in a timely manner following the execution of a definitive business combination agreement.

Related stories:

Linde and Praxair terminate merger talks

13 September 2016
USA/GERMANY: Refrigerant suppliers Linde and Praxair have terminated merger talks, the companies have announced. Read more…

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