Linde is negotiating to sell about $200-million worth of additional assets in the United States to Messer Group and CVC Capital Partners in an effort to secure US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval for its $82-billion merger with Praxair, according to a report on Reuters, quoting a person familiar with the matter. The Messer-CVC consortium has already agreed to buy the majority of Linde’s bulk gases business in the United States and all of its operations in Canada, Brazil, and Colombia for $3.3 billion.
The additional US operations to be sold include three air-separation plants, a liquid-argon contract, a carbon dioxide facility, and two depots, Bloomberg quoted people with knowledge of the situation as saying. Another Linde plant at La Porte, Texas, which includes the company’s largest US air separation unit and syngas facilities, will be sold at a later stage, as the FTC has reportedly agreed to give the merger partners more time for this transaction. Linde, Messer, and CVC declined to comment on the latest reports.
The Linde-Praxair merger agreement, signed in December 2016, allows either party to terminate the deal if divestitures of assets with combined sales of more than €3.7 billion ($4.4 billion) are required by antitrust regulators. Linde, however, warned on 22 August that the FTC’s demands had become more stringent and divestments were expected to exceed this level. The two companies have a deadline of 24 October 2018 set by German financial market regulations to complete the deal. Linde shares jumped 7% in Frankfurt on Wednesday on optimism they will meet the deadline.
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
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