Air Products to acquire industrial gas maker


China Daily | Updated:  2017-01-10 08:05

Air Products & Chemicals Inc said it made an offer to buy China's biggest producer of industrial gases, the latest for an industry that has seen a trend of consolidation globally.

The Allentown, Pennsylvania-based maker of industrial and atmospheric gases said in a statement on Monday that it has preliminary, non-binding interest in acquiring all outstanding shares of Yingde Gases Group Co, subject to conditions. The news sent shares of Yingde up the most in more than a year on Monday after the stock resumed trading following a Dec 23 halt.

Air Products hasn't yet reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Yingde, whose market value is about HK$6 billion ($768 million) and there's no certainty a deal will be concluded, the US company said in the statement.

Yingde Gases is in the midst of a boardroom tussle as a Cayman Islands court in December ordered the company to stop a share placement following a filing by two shareholders. The gas maker had planned to raise about HK$1.2 billion selling new shares to Originwater Hong Kong Environmental Protection Co. The board of Yingde will meet on Tuesday to decide on the expression of interest.

An acquisition by Air Products would be the latest in a wave of consolidation of the industry triggered by French rival Air Liquide SA's takeover last year of Airgas Inc for $13 billion including debt. Linde AG and Praxair Inc, which were in talks about a merger that would have created the world's largest supplier of industrial gases, ended their negotiations in September over the German company's concerns that jobs and operations would be cut at its Munich headquarters.