I think I may have used this word in a short piece I wrote last week, but what a whirlwind of a week it has been for the industrial gases business.
‘Whirlwind’ perfectly summed up the crossover week of February into March 2019. Though they may have been expected given the 1st March deadline for completion, the divestments of various assets related to the mega-merger of Praxair and Linde created a vortex of news flow that could have cast aside almost everything else happening in the news that week.
Each a story in its own right, we saw Celanese complete its acquisition of a syngas unit in Pasadena, Texas, likewise MATHESON completed on a HyCO acquisition of its own in Texas, and there was the romantic return of the Messer name in the America’s thanks to finalisation of its purchase of the majority of Linde’s gases business in North America and certain Linde and Praxair business activities in South America.
All of which essentially comprised the main announcement at the heart of the funnel – that all requirements had been met, all restrictions were lifted, and the full formation of Linde plc could plough ahead. Full integration globally is now underway and the new entity can is rolling out the branding that has clearly been on ice for so long.
Very nearly sliding in under the radar was the news that Air Products had completed the purchase of carbon dioxide leader, ACP, an acquisition first announced over a year ago, back in February 2018.
Many questions might well have been asked about Air Products as an indirect consequence of the creation of Linde plc. But it’s been a good week, a good month and great few years for the Lehigh Valley-based major. Another strong set of financials and a 19thconsecutive quarter of adjusted EPS growth, underlining its leading performance position; mechanical completion of the Jazan facility in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest industrial has complex; and now the closure on another significant player in the carbon dioxide business in ACP.
The company has been laser focused on performance and further buildings its core in recent years, the fruition of which we are clearly seeing.
What a week. What a time for such major mergers and acquisitions activity in the industry. And what an interesting complexion we now have on the global gases business.