In 2015, the South American market was valued at $3.1bn, down from $3.8bn in 2014. A large proportion of this can be attributed to currency fluctuations in the main market of Brazil.
We expect steady growth in the region over the course of the next five years. One of the main growth markets over the coming years could be the Argentinian gas market, due to a number of new capacity additions scheduled.
South America will likely be the focusof major issues for anti-trust authorities as Praxair (through subsidiary White Martins) and Linde are the two largest companies in the region, with a combined market share of 66%, prior to any divestments.
Praxair is the market leader in South America due to strong operations in the main two markets of Brazil and Argentina. On the other hand, Linde differs in the sense that its operations in the main markets are more limited, with market leadership in a number of smaller markets contributing to its relative strength in the region.
The Brazilian market is likely to prove to be the largest hurdle to overcome with regards to satisfying anti-trust authorities in South America. The combined company, before any divestment, would command a market share valued in excess of 70%. Therefore, it is highly likely that the Brazilian competition authority, CADE, will not allow for the two companies to combine in Brazil without any divestments being made.