Linde, Praxair offer EU concessions on road to $65bn tie-up

FRANKFURT: German gas giant Linde and US-based Praxair said on Thursday they had agreed to sell the American firm’s European gas business, in a concession to Brussels competition authorities probing their gigantic merger.
“Praxair… has signed an agreement to sell the majority of its businesses in Europe to Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation” for five billion euros ($5.9 billion), the US firm said in a statement.
The units to be sold boast annual revenues of “approximately 1.3 billion euros” from operations in 12 EU countries including France, Germany, Italy and the UK and employ some 2,500 people, the statement continued.
Praxair’s deal with Taiyo Nippon Sanso will only go ahead if the European Commission approves its $65-billion tie-up with Linde, which the two firms have been pursuing since 2016.
Brussels announced in February an in-depth probe into the deal, which would create the world’s largest industrial gases firm with annual revenues of more than $30 billion, overtaking Linde’s longtime French rival Air Liquide.
“We are taking a constructive approach to address regulatory concerns with the merger,” Praxair chairman and chief executive Steve Angel said.
In its own statement, Linde said it continues to expect competition approvals to allow the deal to go ahead by the end of 2018. — AFP