The Linde Group
|Traded as||FWB: LIN|
|Founder||Carl von Linde|
|Aldo Belloni (President and CEO), Wolfgang Reitzle (chairman of the supervisory board)|
|Products||Industrial gas production, alkene, natural gas and air separation plant engineering, logistics services|
|Revenue||€16.948 billion (2016)|
|€4.098 billion (2016)|
|€1.327 billion (2016)|
|Total assets||€36.281 billion (2016)|
|Total equity||€15.823 billion (2016)|
Number of employees
The Linde Group, registered as Linde AG (FWB: LIN), is a German multinational chemical company founded in 1879. It is the world's largest industrial gas company by market share as well as revenue. Linde shares are traded on all the German stock exchanges and also in Zürich, and the Linde share price is included in the DAX 30 index. The group is headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
The Linde Group has over 600 affiliated companies in more than 100 countries, with customers in the industrial, retail, trade, science, research, and public sectors.
In September 2006 the company acquired its UK based competitor The BOC Group, and subsequently disposed of its non-gas interests. Linde's former materials handling business was rebranded as KION Group in September 2006 and sold in November 2006 to KKR and Goldman Sachs for €4bn. In March 2007 the BOC Edwards semiconductor equipment business was sold to CCMP Capital for €685m.
Linde's revenue in 2016 were €16.948 billion, with 59,715 employees.
Following the BOC acquisition, The Linde Group has become the world's largest industrial gas company. In 2005, Linde AG and BOC together had 21% of the world's market in industrial gases followed by Air Liquide with 19%, Praxair with 13%, Air Products & Chemicals with 10%, Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation with 4%, Airgas with 3% and Messer Group with 1%.
The Linde Group today has two principal business areas: gas (industrial gases and medical gases), and engineering. In the industrial gas area the group trades under a number of established brand names including Linde, AGA, BOC, TIG, MOX, Afrox and PanGas. HiQ is used as an identifier for high purity and premium specialty gases across all of these business brand names. In the medical gas area, Linde is known with the following names, Linde Gas Therapeutics, AGA Medical, INO Therapeutics, Linde Homecare, Farmadomo and Life Gas.
- Linde Gas supplies industrial gases, medical gases, specialty gases, refrigerants and other chemicals. Depending on the gas and the quantity required, these may be supplied in portable high-pressure gas cylinders, in liquefied form by road tanker, from on-site gas generators or in gaseous form via pipeline to large customers.
- Linde Engineering designs and builds large-scale chemical plants for the production of industrial gases including oxygen, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen and carbon monoxide, as well as large plants associated with the processing of natural gas, LNG, LPG and the manufacture of olefins.
On 21 June 1879, Carl von Linde founded the Gesellschaft für Linde's Eismaschinen Aktiengesellschaft to develop further his work in developing mechanical refrigeration systems for the brewing and food industries. Following success in this market, he moved on to developing lower temperature systems resulting in 1895 in a patent covering the liquefaction of air. Out of this work his company developed equipment for the separation of air and other gases. Linde's process was patented in 1902 and immediately exploited by the first large-scale air separation plant installed in Linde's work in Höllriegelskreuth, near Munich in 1903.
In addition to plants for air separation, in 1906 Linde engineers started working with others on processes to separate the constituents of water gas. This work developed into capabilities in the recovery of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which were further key feedstocks for the emerging chemicals industry.
In addition to his interests in refrigeration, Carl von Linde had also partnered with Hugo Güldner and Georg von Krauß and others in 1904 to form the Güldner Motoren-Gesellschaft mbH in Munich, which was moved to Aschaffenburg in 1906. Linde took full ownership of the company in 1929, and from this origin developed a business manufacturing first engines and tractors, and then from the 1950s onwards, a range of mechanical handling equipment such as fork lift trucks. Linde also acquired the Aktiengesellschaft für Industriegasverwertung (english: Corporation for Industry Gas Utilization ), commonly referred to as the Heylandt Works.
Linde Air Products, since 1917 part of the Union Carbide & Carbon Corporation sued another company in 1950 for violating their patent on a welding process by simply substituting a similar material. In Graver Tank & Manufacturing Co. v. Linde Air Products Co., the United States Supreme Court established the doctrine of equivalents which found that, while not in the literal scope of the patent, the concept discovered by Linde was still being unfairly encroached upon without compensation.
A complex history of takeovers, mergers and divestments occurred, and in 2000 completed the acquisition of AGA AB of Sweden. This was followed in 2004 with the divestment of the original core of the Linde business – the refrigeration division – to Carrier Corporation of the USA. In March 2006, Linde made a proposal to acquire The BOC Group for €11.7 billion in cash. The acquisition was completed on 5 September 2006. Following the acquisition, the combined gas and engineering group was rebranded as The Linde Group, and the materials handling activities separated and rebranded as KION Group. It was also announced that the BOC Edwards equipment business was to be sold.
In 2010 the group acquired over 95% of the shares of Sri Lanka based, Ceylon Oxygen Ltd.
In June 2011, PT Linde Indonesia, a subsidiary of the Linde group, announced its plan to build an air separation plant worth Rp.1 trillion ($117.33 million) in Cilegon, Banten, to supply industrial gas to PT Krakatau Posco's steel plant.
In January 2012, the company acquired the Continental-European homecare business of the industrial gases company Air Products at an enterprise value of €590 million. This business achieved annual sales of €210 million in 2011. The transaction comprises Air Products' homecare operations in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain with around 850 employees. In August 2012, the company acquired Lincare Holdings Inc., a healthcare gas provider in the USA for US$4.6 billion. Lincare Holdings had sales of US$1.8 billion in 2011. In August, the Linde Group completed the acquisition and became the largest home care gas supplier in North America. In December, the company acquired homecare company Calea France SAS.
In February 2016, Lincare Holdings acquired American HomePatient, Inc. In December, Linde Korea completed the acquisition of Air Liquide Korea's industrial merchant & electronics and liquid bulk air gases divisions, based in South Korea.
In August 2016 it was publicly announced that the German company was in official negotiations to merge with the American competitor Praxair, which would form the world's largest gas supplier. The following month in September the negotiations were halted and suspended indefinitely. As of mid December 2016 Praxair resumed negotiations with Linde for a potential merger. In late December an official announcement was made that Praxair had reached an agreement to merge with Linde in a deal valued at $35 billion and with an overall merger value of $65 billion. In April 2017 Linde again rejected a request for a shareholder vote at its annual general meeting in May – this is the second time the company has rejected Praxair's request. In May 2017, both companies reached a deal in principle on an all-share merger of equals valued at $75 billion, the deal will still need the approval of Praxair's board of directors as well as Linde's management and executive boards and if approved, will form a new holding company. In early June, both companies agreed to the merger.
Subgroups and service companies
Linde AG comprises three subgroups. The largest division, Gases, has four operating segments, Western Europe, the Americas, Asia & Eastern Europe, and South Pacific & Africa. These segments are subdivided into eight Regional Business Units (RBUs).
The Gases Division also includes the two Global Business Units (GBUs) – Healthcare (medical gases) and Tonnage (on-site) – and the two Business Areas (BAs) – Merchant & Packaged Gases (liquefied and cylinder gases) and Electronics (electronic gases).
Industrial Gases and Health Care
Linde Industrial Gases produces and distributes the atmospheric gases oxygen, nitrogen and argon, all of which are manufactured in Linde's air separation plants.
In addition, Linde develops and distributes procedures and systems for gas applications in several technological application centres. Linde is the world's largest supplier of welding and safety products.
Linde Healthcare provides pharmaceutical and medical gas products and services for healthcare professionals.
Linde Healthcare is present in 70 countries. Pharmaceutical and medical gases are used in the diagnosis or treatment of a number of clinical conditions. In addition to oxygen therapy, aerosol therapy and anaesthesia, Linde Healthcare provides medical gas solutions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, sleep apnoea and pain.
The Engineering Division develops process plants in the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business worldwide. Linde Engineering focus on market segments such as plants for the production of hydrogen and synthesis gas, oxygen and olefins as well as plants for natural gas treatment.
The group has more than 1,000 process engineering patents and 4,000 completed plant projects. 
The product portfolio includes:
- Air separation plants
- Lng and natural gas processing plants
- Hydrogen and synthesis gas plants
- Chemical and petrochemical plants
- Adsorption plants
- Cryogenic plants
- CCS and CO2 plants
- Furnaces, incinerators and heaters
- Plant components
Gist offers supply chain services including end to end management and customer fulfilment. The company employs about 5,000 people in 40 locations in Great Britain, Continental Europe and America, with customers including Marks & Spencer, Starbucks, EAT, British Airways, Carlsberg Group, Bakkavör, Uniq and Dairy Crest/Arla Foods.
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