Praxair, Inc. and The Linde Group continue to aim for a conclusion in their prospective merger negotiations in the coming weeks.

The two companies had earlier targeted finalisation of a definitive Business Combination Agreement by early May (2017), having announced agreement on a non-binding term sheet governing the essential terms of a merger of equals in December.

An announcement had been conspicuous by its absence in recent weeks, with the ‘legal complexities’ of such a mega deal cited as the chief reason for the delay – leaving Linde unable to reflect on a conclusion to the agreement at its AGM (Annual General Meeting) yesterday as initially hoped.

Despite this, the two companies remain confident that the proposed merger is on ‘the right track’ for the first half of the year. According to a transcript of his address filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Linde CEO Professor Dr. Aldo Belloni told shareholders at yesterday’s AGM, “You will doubtless be asking when everything is going to happen. When and exactly how Linde shares can be exchanged. As far as these matters are concerned, I would ask for your patience.”

“However, we feel that we are on the right track and hope to be able to complete the Business Combination Agreement in the first half of the year. As soon as the merger agreement with Praxair is signed, we will make an announcement and come back to you with precise information.”

M&A: A complex business

With a reported backdrop of unrest regarding the governance and job security of any merger, Prof. Dr. Belloni also assured that if the merger is successful Linde will rule out compulsory redundancies anywhere in Germany before the end of 2021, and the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged for all existing locations and companies in Germany.

In fact, as part of the employment pact, Linde has even extended the collective bargaining agreement to other companies in The Linde Group which have until now not been bound by such an agreement.

Similarly, he added, following the merger, corporate co-determination on the Supervisory Board of Linde AG and operational co-determination will remain unchanged.

Praxair-Linde merger: Impact in Europe

The proposed merger of equals between Praxair and Linde would bring together two leading companies in the global industrial gas industry, leveraging the proven strengths of each. The transaction would unite Linde’s long-held leadership in technology with Praxair’s efficient operating model, creating a global leader.

Based on 2015 reported results, it would create a company with pro forma revenues of approximately $30bn (€28bn), prior to any divestitures, and a current market value in excess of $65bn (€61bn). gas world Business Intelligence previously projected a combined global market share of 33%, pre-divestment.