Linde and Praxair get EU approval for $82bn deal
Onerous US demands include more asset sales, possibly exceeding agreed threshold
The Linde/Praxair deal would put the merged entity ahead of French competitor Air Liquide in gas distribution. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
The deal, announced in June last year, would put the merged entity ahead of French competitor Air Liquide in gas distribution. The companies’ industrial gases such as oxygen and helium are used in hospitals, MRI scanners and steel production.
The European Commission said the companies’ pledge to sell assets to reinforce a Japanese rival in Europe and other concessions addressed its concerns that the deal may lead to price hikes and hurt competition.
The EU watchdog said Praxair will sell its entire gas business in the 28-country bloc, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It will also transfer its stake in an Italian joint venture in central and eastern Europe to partner Flow Fin.
The companies will also sell additional helium sourcing contracts to one or more buyers.
The companies however are facing more onerous demands from the US Federal Trade Commission, which wants more asset sales, possibly exceeding the companies’ agreed threshold, and wants the buyers to meet certain requirements. – Reuters