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Praxair in deal to sell European assets to Taiyo Nippon Sanso

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
Praxair has made a deal to sell the majority of its European assets to Taiyo Nippon Sanso – dependent on the successful closing of the Praxair-Linde merger.

A post-merger Praxair-Linde organization, according to Reuters, could be big enough to take the number one spot from Air Liquide in its ability to provide gases like oxygen and helium on a global scale – of vital interest in the imaging community.

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The merger would result in firm with revenues of almost $29 billion and 88,000 staff.

The merging firms must sell assets to pass regulatory muster in their $83 billion all-share merger. The 5 billion euro ($5.9 billion) divestment to Taiyo Nippon Sanso is for businesses with 2017 earnings of about 1.3 billion euros.

“We are taking a constructive approach to address regulatory concerns with the merger in the European Economic Area,” Steve Angel, Praxair chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Taiyo Nippon Sanso is a strong and capable global industrial gas buyer for our assets and we are pleased that they will continue to serve the needs of our customers in Europe.”

The assets that would transfer include Praxair’s gas businesses in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. About 2,500 employees work at these facilities.

“With this acquisition, we are seizing a unique opportunity to enter the European market and establish a truly global footprint through the purchase of highly attractive assets in all the key geographies in the European Union. We look forward to growing these highly profitable businesses and welcoming the experienced and dedicated Praxair European team to TNSC,” Yujiro Ichihara, president and CEO of Taiyo Nippon Sanso, said in a statement.

At present, the businesses that are part of the agreement will be owned and run by Praxair until the merger and this latest deal both close.

The present objective is for the merger of Praxair and Linde to finish in the second half of 2018.

More disposals are possible in the moves to finish the merger.

“Linde and Praxair are in discussions with the competent authorities and in negotiations with potential bidders, with the objective of completing the business combination in the second half of 2018,” Linde advised, according to Reuters.

The merger first hit the news in late 2016, after months of speculation and rumors, when the firms announced a non-binding term sheet.

The combination, based on 2015 financials, would have pro forma revenues of about $30 billion and a present market cap above $65 billion, according to the companies at that time.

In 2017, when the firms signed a definitive business combination agreement, they stated that, “the transaction unites Linde’s long-standing leadership in engineering and technology with Praxair’s efficient operating model – creating a global leader.”

“The combined company will give us the opportunity to leverage the individual strengths of both companies across a much larger global footprint and enhance our ability to drive innovation and growth,” Angel noted at the time.

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