Linde plc says it is now able to fully integrate its business globally following the divestiture of assets required by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Linde and Praxair closed their merger 31 October 2018 and the combined company will operate as Linde. Linde was required to hold and operate the US assets at issue separately until required divestitures were completed.
The combined company, excluding completed and pending divestitures, posted adjusted 2018 sales of $28.1 billion and net income of $3.4 billion, year-on-year gains of 5% and 8% respectively, according to a 1 March investor presentation. The deal creates the largest global industrial gases player, taking the lead from Air Liquide, which posted 2018 revenue of $24 billion.
The company says it expects “slower top-line growth” in 2019 due to lower global industrial production and negative currency impacts, which will be offset by positive pricing and project backlog. The company forecast 2019 earnings per share growth of 8–12% due to positive contribution from cost savings, improved capital structure, and a lower share count. The company says it expects margin improvement through the year.
In July 2018, Linde reached agreement to sell most of its industrial gas business in North America and some assets in South America to a consortium that included Messer Group and CVC Capital Partners. In 2017, those businesses generated annual sales of €1.5 billion and EBITDA of €350 million. The purchase price was €3.0 billion. Linde also agreed to certain other US assets, including five hydrogen plants to Taiyo Nippon Sanso’s Matheson unit. The FTC approved the sales to Messer/CVC and Matheson on 26 February.
Praxair reached a separate deal to sell a majority of its European assets to Taiyo Nippon Sanso.
By Robert Westervelt
Source: Chemical Week
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