Praxair Inc. has agreed to sell European assets valued at about €5 billion ($6 billion) to Japan’s Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp as part of efforts to win regulatory approval for its plan to create the world’s largest industrial-gas supplier.
The sale is aimed at soothing antitrust concerns in Europe, where regulators are carrying out an in-depth review of Praxair’s planned $45 billion merger with Germany’s Linde.
For Taiyo Nippon, the purchase would add gas assets in a region where the company has none.
“We are taking a constructive approach to address regulatory concerns with the merger in the European Economic Area,” said Steve Angel, Praxair chairman and chief executive officer.
“Taiyo Nippon Sanso is a strong and capable global industrial gas buyer for our assets and we are pleased that they will continue to serve the needs of our customers in Europe.”
The assets to be sold include Praxair’s industrial gases businesses in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom and include 2,500 employees.
Praxair and Linde continue to work with the relevant antitrust authorities with the objective of closing the merger during the second half of 2018.
“With this acquisition, we are seizing a unique opportunity to enter the European market and establish a truly global footprint through the purchase of highly attractive assets in all the key geographies in the European Union,” said Yujiro Ichihara, President CEO, Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation.
Praxair will continue to own, operate and maintain these businesses until the closing of the merger and this European divestiture transaction.