Since last December, industrial gas supplier Linde has been trying in a second attempt to merge with its American competitor Praxair. On June 2, 2017, Linde’s supervisory board finally approved the merger, a decision that was not without controversy. As Reuters has reported, one of the six worker representatives had abstained from voting, effectively turning a split decision into a six-to-five vote in favor of the deal. Company management has now signed the agreement, but both Praxair and the antitrust authority will need to approve it over the coming months before it can take effect next year.
Wolfgang Büchele, formerly CEO of Linde, had broken off negotiations with the American business in September 2016. The arguments that ensued had led him and CFO Georg Denoke to offer up their positions in the company. Aldo Belloni became the new CEO of Munich-based Linde and the chair of the supervisory board, Wolfgang Reitzle, resumed talks with Praxair shortly thereafter.
The merger of both businesses would create a new corporation with a market value of EUR 65 billion. It would keep the Linde name, but may relocate to Ireland. It would also surpass the current world leader in the industrial gas industry, Air Liquide, a French corporation which has recently bought another American competitor, Airgas.