Speculation whether Air Products will be successful in taking over China’s Yingde Gases Group has been brought to an end with the official disclosure that the company will not be pursuing the acquisition.
The following statement was released on Friday in an official filing from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):
“Air Products announced that it has determined it is not in the best interests of Air Products’ shareholders to continue to pursue an acquisition of Yingde Gases Group Co. Ltd. at this time.”
The industrial gas major’s first moves to acquire Yingde became apparent in January (2017) submitted a letter to the Chinese industrial gas outfit, setting forth a preliminary, non-binding indication of interest to takeover all of its outstanding shares.
The bid came at a fractious time for the Chinese company, amidst an internal company feud between two groups of current and deposed Directors.
The story then became something of a protracted takeover offer itself, with a series of public disclosures between the two companies that appeared to indicate a war of words over the value of the deal and the speed of those negotiations.
The ante was then upped further with the news that Asia-based private equity firm PAG had waded into the battle to acquire Yingde Gases, with a bid said to be at the ‘top end of the range’ that Air Products had already offered to purchase the company at.
Air Products has now withdrawn its offer for Yingde, however, with the announcement coming on the same day as the latter issued a profit warning and investigations into its finances. Shares in the company fell as much as 4% on Monday upon the news of Air Products’ revocation.
Yingde is the largest independent industrial gas supplier in the People’s Republic of China in terms of revenue. It produces, supplies and distributes a variety of industrial gas products to its onsite and merchant customers, with oxygen, nitrogen and argon the core products.
Its onsite supply business is the anchor underpinning its operations, accounting for approximately 83.7% of the group’s revenue in 2016, serving customers primarily in the steel, chemical and non-ferrous metals industries.
Yingde had a total of 69 gas supply facilities in operation and 11 under development as at June 2016.