Global Processing

BOC Group accepts $14.9 billion takeover offer

March 13, 2006

Germany''s Linde AG said that directors of British gases company BOC Group PLC have accepted a takeover offer worth 8.5 billion pounds ($14.9 billion) in a deal that would create the world''s biggest industrial-gases company, the Associated Press reports. The Wiesbaden, Germany-based gas and engineering company said it would pay 1,600 pence ($28.08) per BOC share. Linde Chief Executive Wolfgang Reitzle told reporters his company could pay as much as 15 billion euros ($18 billion) to complete the deal. That figure included Linde''s 12.4 billion euros ($14.9 billion) cash offer, 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for financing BOC''s pension liabilities and debt as well as another 1.3 billion euros for any restructuring that might be needed to avoid antitrust concerns. Both companies provide gases to the chemicals, food, health care, electronics and other industries. The combined company would overtake France''s L''Air Liquide SA as the market leader. The combined companies would have 22 percent of the world''s sales of industrial gases, with combined annual sales of around 11.9 billion euros ($14.3 billion), Linde said. BOC and Linde are currently the second- and fifth-biggest industrial-gas providers, respectively. U.S. companies Praxair Inc. and Air Products & Chemicals Inc. are the third- and fourth-largest.