Linde sells American businesses for Praxair merger

Article by Adam Duckett

LINDE has agreed to sell its industrial gas businesses in North and South America for US$3.3bn as it seeks approval for its merger with US rival Praxair.

Messer, the world’s largest privately-owned industrial gases company, and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners are buying most of Linde’s US bulk operations and its businesses in Brazil, Canada and Colombia.

Linde said in a statement that it considers the sale necessary to secure approval from authorities for its merger with Praxair. The deal with Messer and CVC Capital Partners hinges on the completion of the merger, announced in 2016, which is set to create the world’s largest industrial gases firm. Linde expects to complete the merger later this year.

The operations Messer is buying employs 5,100 people and had revenues in 2017 of US$1.7bn. Messer employs 5,675 people worldwide and had revenues of around €1.2bn (US$1.4bn) last year. The venture with Messer and CVC Capital Partners will be named MG Industries and will operate under the Messer brand. As part of the deal, Messer will roll its Western European operating companies into the MG Industries venture. This includes businesses in Benelux, Denmark, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.

“In creating this strategic partnership, we are seizing a unique opportunity to return to the North and South American markets and create a global player in the industrial gases sector”, said Stefan Messer, owner and CEO of the Messer Group. During restructuring in 2004, Messer sold its North American holdings to Air Liquide.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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