Shareholders of the BOC Group, based in Windlesham, UK, voted at shareholders' meetings held in London today to approve and give effect to the court scheme implementing the recommended cash offer for BOC by Linde.

If the next stages of the UK court process proceed as expected, Linde's acquisition of BOC will be completed on 5 September 2006.

"The fact that BOC shareholders have approved the deal is testimony to the confidence that they have in the future strategy of our new-look company," explained Prof. Wolfgang Reitzle, president and CEO of Linde AG.

"We will make sure that we honour this confidence by working together with BOC in order to forge ahead with our earnings-oriented growth strategy and increase the value of the company in the long term."

The merger of Linde and BOC will produce a global company with annual revenues of around €11.9bn in the international gas and engineering business.