Frankfurt/London — Linde, the German parent of JSE-listed African Oxygen, and US chemicals group Praxair, unveiled preliminary terms of a long-delayed $65bn merger that would create the world’s largest supplier of industrial gas. The companies are the latest multinational rivals, in industries ranging from cement production to brewing, to seek to create a market leader. Like the Lafarge-Holcim merger and AB InBev’s purchase of SABMiller, the deal is likely to face tough regulatory scrutiny. Linde and Praxair were at pains to demonstrate that the deal would be a "merger of equals" and unveiled an annual cost savings target of $1bn. The combined group will be led by Steve Angel, Praxair CEO, while Linde’s Wolfgang Reitzle will retain his role as chairman. The agreement comes three months after talks collapsed in the face of dissent from Linde’s workers and Georg Denoke, then finance director. Linde subsequently dismissed Denoke and announced the resignation of Wolfgang Büchele, then C...

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