BERLIN, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 16th August, 2016) - German industrial gas supplier Linde confirmed Tuesday reports that it was "in preliminary discussions about a possible merger" with its US competitor Praxair. "Discussions are taking place and have yet to lead to any concrete result or agreement," Linde said in a brief statement after the Wall Street Journal and other media including AFP reported that talks had started over a potential tie-up.
"At present it is unforeseeable whether there will be a transaction," Linde added. A potential merger between the two companies would create a giant that would overtake French group Air Liquide as the world's number one supplier of industrial gases. Air Liquide took the top spot from Linde by sealing a deal at the end of May for the acquisition of US firm Airgas, which should take its annual revenues to more than 20 billion Euros ($22.4 billion). But Linde and Praxair combined would have estimated annual revenues of more than $30 billion. The German firm based in Munich employs 64,000 people worldwide, while Connecticut-based Praxair has 26,000 staff. Linde shares soared 10 percent in Frankfurt afternoon trading. In New York Praxair stock was up nearly four percent in early deals.