Industrial gas makers Linde, Praxair announce merger deal

Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Linklaters LLP and Hengeler Mueller are guiding Linde AG to its all-stock merger with Praxair Inc., which is advised by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, to create an industrial gas giant with a combined market value of over $70 billion, the companies said Thursday.

Linde said the two companies would become subsidiaries of a new holding company, to be incorporated in Ireland with its board meetings held in the U.K. The entity would seek inclusion on the S&P 500 and Germany's DAX 30 indexes, Linde said.

Asked about German trade union fears that importing Praxair's more efficient practices could cost European jobs, Angel said: "We believe in efficiency but efficiency doesn't have to come at the expense of headcount".

(FILES) This file photo taken on March 17, 2014 shows the logo of German industrial gas maker Linde in Munich, southern Germany.

Linde AG and Praxair Inc. will zero in on USA operations for possible asset sales as part of the industrial gas suppliers' efforts to get their $35 billion combination approved by antitrust regulators.

"You can not be a leading industrial gas company unless you have a strong engineering and technology arm", he told journalists on a conference call ahead of a news conference scheduled for 0900 GMT in Munich.

The deal combines U.S. firm Praxair's operational efficiency and strength in the Americas with the leading technology of Germany's Linde and its strong presence in Europe and Asia, overtaking main competitor France's Air Liquide. "They may be sitting in retirement somewhere on Majorca and don't even know that Linde is doing a merger". Linde and Praxair expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Shares in Linde were up 1.3 percent at 175.35 euros by 08:51 BST on June 2.

Linde's supervisory board voted by six-to-five in favour of the merger, with one labour representative abstaining, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

  • Zachary Reyes