£8 billion gas giant

German gas and engineering company Linde has agreed to buy BOC for £8.2 billion, forming the world’s biggest industrial gas company.


BOC’s board of directors approved the offer of £16 cash per share after having previously rejected a bid of £15 per share. Linde said it expected the deal to be approved by the end of May 2006 and to complete in the third quarter of 2006.


Linde chief executive Wolfgang Reitzle said, “Linde and BOC are a perfect match. We will combine the best competencies and abilities of both organisations in a single integrated whole and we will be able to offer our customers a significantly enlarged product range as well as comprehensive services – and we will be able to do so worldwide.”


The deal is conditional on regulatory clearances.