Industrial gas maker Linde of Germany and its US rival Praxair are resuming talks about a possible merger. A tie-up between the two enterprises would no doubt create the biggest company in the sector globally.
Munich-based Linde announced Wednesday it was resuming merger talks with Praxair after a first round of negotiations had failed earlier this year.
"The executive board of Linde has decided to resume talks about the essential conditions of a merger of equals between the two companies," The German firm said in a statement.
Combined, the two groups would overtake Linde's historic French rival Air Liquide, which is the global leader in the production of industrial gases used in a wide range of applications including manufacturing, food processing and the oil ad gas industry.
A previous round of talks had failed as the two sides were at odds over where the merged group should be based and how management should be structured. The failure to reach a deal led to the resignation of Linde's Chief Financial Officer Georg Denoke.
Linde also announced Wednesday that CEO Wolfgang Büchele would step down from his post effective immediately to be replaced by former executive board member Aldo Belloni.
Both companies are hoping to profit from synergy effects. Linde has lately been struggling with decreasing revenues and has announced a massive cost-cutting program and layoffs.
With merger talks to be resumed, Linde shares added some 2 percent on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as Germany's blue-chip Dax index was up 1.3 percent in afternoon trading.
hg/jd (dpa, AP, AFP)