The Linde Group has signed a definitive agreement to sell its packaged gases business with retail stores in the United States to the industrial gases company Airgas Inc. The deal is reported to have an enterprise value of $310m.

Linde will retain certain packaged gases accounts related to its independent distributors, including acetylene production sites and filling plants.

The business to be divested had sales of $346m and EBITDA of around $36m in the financial year 2006, with a workforce of approximately 1,400. By this transaction Linde optimizes its portfolio, and it will now focus on customer segments in the US with a higher content of application technology.

The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary conditions.