handelsblatt exclusive Linde, Praxair Negotiate Details of Merger Agreement

The industrial gas producers expect to finalize an agreement by the spring.

The industrial gas producer Linde and its U.S. rival Praxair have begun hammering out the details of a merger deal agreed in December, according to Handelsblatt sources close to the process.

Barring any unexpected obstacles, Linde and Praxair expect to finalize a definitive agreement by May and complete the merger in the coming year, which would create the world’s largest industrial gas producer.

Critics at Linde, however, are concerned that Praxair is dominating the negotiations. Praxair Chief Executive Stephen Angel, for example, will lead the merged company from the United States.

According to Handelsblatt sources, however, Linde’s seat in Munich will receive the status of a dual headquarters. In addition, Praxair is likely to move its European headquarters from its current location in Italy to Munich.

Linde will also fill three of the six board seats under Mr. Angel’s leadership.

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