Linde to Delist from Frankfurt Stock Exchange

23.01.2023 - Following shareholder approval of the plans at an extraordinary general meeting on Jan.18, industrial gases and plant engineering conglomerate Linde has announced it will delist its share from the Frankfurt stock exchange with effect from Mar. 1. In future, the company will trade only on the New York stock exchange, as an Irish holding.

Linde said the delisting is part of an internal corporate reorganization, following the former German company’s January 2019 merger with US industrial gases group Praxair to become the market’s largest global player. The new combined company subsequently relocated to Ireland

In presenting delisting proposals to investors in October 2022, management said the company’s shareholders were “negatively” impacted by being listed both in Frankfurt and the US.

While the dual listing structure “has served us well since inception,” current CEO Sanjiv Lamba said that at the same time “it has constrained our stock valuation through European restrictions in addition to incremental complexity.”

Commenting on last week’s preliminary voting results, Linde said they indicate that at least 93% of the votes cast on each of the delisting proposals presented were in favor of the delisting. The total number of votes cast represented approximately 78% of total outstanding shares of Linde Plc, the gases giant added.

As part of the reorganization – which Lamba said will have no effect on the company’s organization, employees or customers – Linde shareholders will automatically receive one share of the New York-listed holding for each share of Linde plc they own. The new holding will trade under the existing ticker symbol LIN.

Blow to the Frankfurt stock exchange

German commentators said Linde’s departure will be a blow to the Frankfurt financial marketplace, in particular due to the ongoing decline in the number of large companies listed. What’s more, with a market capitalization of €150 billion, the gases and engineering group formerly based nearby Wiesbaden is at present the exchange’s most valuable asset.

For fund managers, brokers and investors who have Linde in their portfolio, the exit is creating a recalibration nightmare. Apart from Germany’s blue chip index DAX, the Linde share will have to be removed from the Eurostoxx 50 and the Stoxx 600.

Altogether, stock market sources said, index funds will have to sell Linde shares worth €3 billion, or 2% of the currently traded total.

NexAir acquisition completed

In other news, Linde announced recently that it has acquired the remaining interests in NexAir, based at Memphis, Tennessee and one of the largest independent packaged gas distributors in the US with 2022 sales of around $400 million.

Wholly owned subsidiary Linde Gas & Equipment (LG&E) had held a minority interest in nexAir since 2012. Linde said the acquisition complements its existing packaged gas business and expands its footprint in a core and fast-growing geography across the southeastern United States.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist