German gas giant Linde takes over Lincare in US | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 02.07.2012
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German gas giant Linde takes over Lincare in US

German maker of industrial gas, Linde, has said it's in the process of acquiring respiratory care specialist Lincare in the US. The takeover will cost billions, but is viewed to be worth every cent.

Germany's largest producer of industrial gas, Linde, has announced that it has set its sights on US respiratory care company Lincare to broaden its business activities. It said it was about to take over the American company for $4.6 billion (3.64 billion euros).

By doing so, Linde outpaced one of its major European rivals, Air Liquide of France which had also shown interest in Lincare.

The German gas giant reported it would fund the transaction with an acquisition loan of $4.5 billion to be refinanced later on by debt and equity issuances. Funding procedures would be finalized in the third quarter of this year, the company said in a statement.

Big yields on the horizon

Linde is offering $41.50 per Lincare share, thus granting a premium of 22 percent over its closing price on Friday last week, as rumors started spreading about the possible takeover.

Linde's Chief Executive Wolfgang Reitzle made a point of emphasizing that the health care market was becoming an important source of diversification for large gas producers looking to reduce their dependency on traditional fields of operation.

Earlier this year, the German firm had already taken over US competitor Air Products for 590 million euros. Doing business in the medical gas sector is considered to be lucrative with profit margins by far exceeding those in the conventional industrial field.

hg/ng (Reuters, AFP)