Economic review

Linde share prices plummet after regulatory pressure threatens to derail Praxair merger

2018-08-07 02:13:47 (Beijing Time)         English.news.cn

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BERLIN, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- The share price of German Linde Group, the world's largest industrial gas producer, fell sharply on Monday after it announced that its 42-billion-dollar merger with U.S. rival Praxair could collapse under heavier than expected regulatory pressure.

Linde shares were down by as much as 10 percent after it announced that antitrust demands made by U.S. regulators were "more onerous than previously expected". Once combined, Linde and Praxair would achieve gross annual revenue of 80 billion dollars according to some estimates.

Back in May, the Munich-based Linde Group attempted to downplay growing concerns over a potential failure of the announced mega-fusion. Speaking at the company's latest Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the time, Linde chief executive officer (CEO) Aldo Belloni expressed confidence that international antitrust authorities would ultimately grant the deal their green light.

"We are working together with Praxair and in constructive dialogue with competition authorities to complete the fusion by the second half of 2018," Belloni said. The CEO emphasized that good progress was made on divesting from individual units of two competitors to relieve concerns that the Linde-Praxair merger would create an overwhelmingly dominant player in the global industrial gas industry.

Linde and Praxair face a looming legal deadline in Germany for successful finalization of the merger on Oct. 24. However, the two companies have granted each other the right to cancel the deal at the last minute if antitrust authorities demand that they divest business units worth more than 3.7 billion euros (4.28 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue of 1.1 billion euros in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebidta).