Praxair-Linde merger: Major new helium competitor


Much of the publicity surrounding Praxair’s pending merger with Linde has focused on the geographic overlap between their atmospheric gas businesses, especially in the US.

Another segment where there is very significant overlap is the helium business, where Praxair and Linde are two of the four largest global competitors (the others being Air Products and Air Liquide). We believe that the regulatory authorities, to preserve the competitive intensity of the helium business, will require major divestitures of helium assets. When the dust settles, it is likely that there will be a major new competitor in the global helium business. 

The combined market share of the four top global helium players at the wholesale/sourcing level (control of the source) exceeds 85%. Although the combined market share of the Big 4 is considerably less at the retail or end-user level, their control of the world’s capacity gives these four competitors considerable influence over helium markets. Below the Big 4 are the MATHESON subsidiary of Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC), with a market share about one-third as large as each of the Big 4, followed by Iwatani at #6 and Messer at a much smaller #7 position.

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