Linde, Praxair Work with US FTC on Merger

18.10.2018 -

As the Oct. 24 deadline for the Linde/Praxair merger edges closer, the German industrial gas maker said the companies has “aligned” with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff on Oct. 1 regarding the required asset sales as part of the US antitrust review.

Linde also confirmed that the companies have submitted a remedy package to the FTC commissioners for their decision. It is not clear when the commissioners will vote on the merger but the deal’s conditions require that the FTC gives clearance by the end of Oct. 24.

The merger is also subject to the “timely receipt” of buyer approval by the European Commission.

In September, a Bloomberg news agency report said Linde and Praxair were looking to sell additional assets worth around $200 million to Messer Group and CVC Capital Partners to allay antitrust concerns. The assets were said to comprise three air separation plants, a carbon dioxide plant, a liquid argon contract and two depots.

Messer and CVC, through their joint venture MG Industries, had previously already agreed to buy the majority of Linde’s business in North America along with certain activities in South America.

Praxair has also already agreed to sell its European gases operations to Japan’s Taiyo Nippon Sanso for €5 billion.

Speaking to a US-based trade journal, a Jefferies analyst said he remains optimistic that FTC approval could be reached before the deadline, adding that the European Commission’s buyer approval should also be “manageable” by Oct 24.

The other outstanding antitrust approvals have now been received, notably from China on Sept. 30 and South Korea on Oct. 8.