Air Liquide in €3.3 Billion Capital Increase
French industrial gases producer Air Liquide has announced a capital increase to help finance its $13.4 billion acquisition of US-based Airgas. Through the sale of new shares on the Euronext stock exchange in Paris from Sept. 14-28, the company hopes to raise €3.3 billion ($3.7 billion). The transaction is being underwritten by a syndicate of banks.
The proceeds of the rights issue will enable the gases manufacturer to refinance a portion of the bridge loan contracted from its main banks in December 2015, when it announced plans to take over its US rival. The deal, which allowed the French player to leapfrog over Linde to regain its position as world’s number one supplier, closed in May 2016.
In the issue open solely to buyers based in France, existing shareholders will have preferential subscriptions rights allowing them to buy one new share for every eight already held. The papers are being sold at €76 each, a 21% discount to the closing share price on Sept. 9.
The capital increase represents the second phase of Air Liquide’s financing package, following a bond issue worth €3 billion completed in June. A $4.5 billion bond issue is planned to be launched in the US market.