The Linde Group has announced that the Chinese antitrust authority, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), has provided clearance of its proposed business combination with Praxair, Inc.

No indication is given as to whether it is a conditional approval, dependent on asset divestments, but the green light is another significant step forward the mega-merger, which is due to complete this month.

gasworld Business Intelligence had previously cited China as among three significant areas of overlap in Asia (along with India and Thailand) in its Global Primer Report, which covers each region of concern regarding the Praxair-Linde merger.

China had reportedly become more of a sticky issue than might first have been imagined. While gasworld Business Intelligence has previously projected that the combined entity of Praxair and Linde, including both companies’ respective joint ventures, would hold a market share that was unlikely to pose any antitrust issues at a national level in China, the main issues that could be posed in the Chinese market exist on a more regional level, where there may be areas of production overlaps and local monopolies.

It was therefore thought that the merger was under extra scrutiny as domestic independent players in China potentially expressed their concerns and staked their claims for any assets under question.

Now, clearance has been given and the merger edges ever nearer its 24th October deadline.

The completion of the business combination is still subject to the receipt of the required regulatory approvals in South Korea and the US, as well as the outstanding buyer approval by the European Commission prior to 24th October 2018, respectively.