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Praxair completes $46B Linde merger

November 12, 2018

Praxair has legally completed its $46 billion merger with its German rival and historic ancestor Linde Group, creating the largest industrial gases company in the world that continues to operate under separate silos while awaiting final approvals from regulators on the sale of assets they are seeking to maintain competition.

Exiting October, Praxair reported completing the combination in a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and delisted its shares from the New York Stock Exchange, with the merger agreement having been announced in June 2017.

The companies continue to maintain separate operations and financial reporting as competitive siblings, until securing federal approval of the sale of some U.S. operations that employ about 2,500 people.

Praxair CEO Steve Angel will lead the new Linde going forward, which is expected to employ more than 80,000 people including some 26,700 from Praxair, which added nearly 200 employees in the past year. The company will have its head office in Danbury, while being incorporated in Ireland and listing a Great Britain domicile for tax purposes.

Linde will drop the Praxair name that traces its history through Union Carbide, the onetime chemical giant based in Danbury that was created in 1917 in a roll-up of five companies including Linde which had been founded a decade before.

Both Linde and Praxair produce oxygen, nitrogen and other gases for myriad uses, including manufacturing, health care and food and beverage production.

In its final full quarter as an independent company, Praxair reported a net profit of $461 million on sales of more than $3 billion, a revenue milestone the company topped in the second quarter for the first time in its history.

Praxair has its headquarters at 10 Riverview Drive in Danbury, with the company moving there last year with $10 million in assistance from the state of Connecticut, and qualifying for tax credits of up to $20 million along with another $2.5 million in sales tax exemptions. To qualify for the full incentive package, Praxair must have a Danbury workforce numbering just over 650 people within five years.

Praxair had indicated it received overtures from New York and Texas for its headquarters office, which at the time was located at the sprawling Matrix Corporate Center that had been built as the headquarters of Union Carbide. Fairfield-based Summit Development acquired the complex last month and plans to add residences and retail space as a way to reinvigorate the property.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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