Japanese Komatsu and Linde have entered into a share transfer agreement, whereby the parties have agreed to terminate their Komatsu Forklift (KFL) joint venture agreement.

Komatsu has agreed to buy back the 35 per cent of KFL's shares currently held by Linde and to make KFL a wholly owned subsidiary of Komatsu.

According to Linde spokesman Uwe Wolfinger the reason for this is that Linde want to concentrate on its gas and engineering business. \\$quot;Our material handling business will not remain part of Linde Group after the BOC acquisition. We will either do an IPO or sell it.\\$quot;

The parties expect to complete the share buyback by the beginning of next month.

With regard to the corporate strategy of the Linde Group this decision reflects the intention of both partners to terminate the existing capital link between the two companies. Despite the dissolving of the joint venture agreement both partners will proceed with their existing joint projects in Europe, Asia and Japan. Currently, in Europe, Linde's subsidiary in Italy distributes and manufacturers KFL products on a license basis.