The European Commission said it has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed $85 billion merger of industrial gases giants Linde and Praxair, saying it feared reduced competition for some crucial gases.
The proposed all-share merger of Germany’s Linde and Praxai of the US, agreed last June, would create the world’s biggest industrial gases group with revenue of $28.7 billion and 88,000 staff.
The Commission said it is concerned that the merger may reduce competition in the supply of several crucial gases, like oxygen and helium.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: “Gases – like oxygen and helium – are crucial inputs for a large variety of products we use every day.
“Manufacturers need to buy these gases from a small number of suppliers.
“We will carefully assess whether the proposed merger between Praxair and Linde would lead to higher prices or less choice for European consumers and businesses.”