German Linde bids for Swedish AGA

Aug 16, 1999 02:00 AM

German engineering and industrial gas company Linde AG announced it bid $ 3.7 bn for the Swedish industrial gas group AGA AB. Linde's CEO Gerhard Full said the combined companies would have an 11 % share of the global market and become the world's fourth largest industrial gases group, if the purchase goes through.
Linde took the 62.5 % stake in AGA through agreements with the company's key shareholders. At a news conference, Full said the AGA deal could be completed within two months.
Linde also is working on a take-over of Hoechst AG's 66 % share in gas company Messer-Griesheim GmbH. Should both deals go through, the company would control 16 % of the global gas market and rank number two after French Air Liquide.

In a statement outlining Linde's bid for AGA, the German company said the alliance would mean lower distribution and production costs. Job cuts in Scandinavia were unlikely, Full said. News of the Linde take-over pushed AGA's stocks to 139 kronor ($ 16.77) per share on the Stockholm market, a 5.3 % increase.
The deal is the latest in a series that has put noted Swedish companies under foreign ownership or control. AGA CEO Lennart Selander noted that in his company's case, "AGA was almost 50 % foreign-owned already before the deal, so it's not a dramatic change," the national news agency TT reported.

Source: AP via Newspage
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