Linde medical gases

Source: Linde/BOC

It’s just been announced that The Linde Group has signed an agreement for the acquisition of the Continental-European homecare business of Air Products at an enterprise value of €590m.

The business to be acquired achieved annual sales of €210 m in 2011 and the transaction comprises Air Products’ homecare operations in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain with around 850 employees.

The agreements cover the sale of Air Products’ patient-based oxygen-therapy, sleep-therapy and infusion-therapy services in Continental Europe.

“Healthcare is one of our three strategic growth pillars. It has proven to be a stable business and builds on the mega-trend of changing demographics,” said Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG.

“With this transaction we are expanding our competencies and scaling-up our product and service offering, delivering quality care to around 260,000 additional patients. This puts us in a very good position to continue to drive innovation and develop new services. The acquisition will improve our position in a structural growth market and will make us one of the market leaders in the European respiratory homecare business.”

“Healthcare is one of our three strategic growth pillars. It has proven to be a stable business and builds on the mega-trend of changing demographics”

Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG

Air Products Chairman, President and CEO John McGlade responded in a statement, “Over many years, our Continental European Homecare team has run a successful business, helping us to build several leadership positions. With the more recent trends towards concentrators and non-oxygen therapies, we feel it is no longer a natural fit with our core gases business.”

“Our growth strategy lies in the energy, environmental and emerging markets in which we continue to see significant opportunities.”

gasworld understands that Air Products is now assessing several options with regards to its remaining Homecare interests in the UK, Ireland, Argentina and Brazil.

Air Products will continue to operate these businesses as part of its portfolio, competing to win new business and providing quality patient care. More broadly, Healthcare continues to offer profitable opportunities through the supply of merchant gases and related services to hospitals and other care providers.

The completion of the transaction is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities, relevant works council consultation and fulfilment of other usual closing conditions.


A growing market

Homecare is the term applied to medical services relating to the treatment of patients in settings other than hospitals. It comprises respiratory services such as oxygen therapy, sleep therapy, and ventilation services. In the 2010 financial year, Linde achieved global sales of around €280 m in this product area.

In the Healthcare segment as a whole, which comprises not only Homecare but also Hospital Care (the supply of medical gases and services to hospitals), Linde achieved sales in the 2010 financial year of €1.1 bn. Linde is the second largest supplier of medical gases and related services in the world.