Air Liquide is pursuing the development of its activities in the home healthcare sector and announces the beginning of exclusive negotiations with a view to acquiring 70.49% of LVL Médical Groupe SA’s (LVL Médical) share capital from the controlling shareholders at a price of €30.89 per share.

This transaction, once finalised, would enable Air Liquide to gain control of LVL Médical’s French activities, for an enterprise value of €316million.

This acquisition of a controlling stake in LVL Médical will be followed by a simplified public tender offer (and, possibly, by a compulsory squeeze-out) on the remaining LVL Médical share and subscription warrants, in accordance with applicable rules.

Prior to the acquisition by Air Liquide, LVLMédical’s German activities will be acquired by the Lavorel Family, which is the majority shareholder.

LVL Médical is an historical player in the home healthcare sector, with 50,000 patients served at home in France. The company employs 750 people in France and its 2011 sales in France amounted to €104million.

Air Liquide intends to pursue LVL Médical’s development by favouring the continuity of the company’s management, led by Mr Jean-Claude Lavorel, and by relying upon the expertise and commitment of its teams.

Pascal Vinet, Vice President, Healthcare Global Operations and member of the Group Executive Committee, declared, “LVL Médical is one of the key players in home healthcare in France, recognised for its expertise, the professionalism of its teams and its service quality.” “Our know-how combined with that of LVL Médical, and our capacity for innovation, will enable LVL Médical to pursue its development. This acquisition is in line with Air Liquide’s external growth strategy in healthcare. Health is one of the growth drivers of the group.”

Air Liquide and LVL Médical will launch an information and consultation process with their respective relevant employee representatives.

The acquisition of the control of LVL Médical by Air Liquide is subject to approval by the French competition authority.

The transaction should be completed during Q4 2012.