[THE INVESTOR] Macquarie Korea Opportunities Management and IMM Private Equity have been shortlisted to acquire Linde Korea, according to industry sources on Jan. 21.
All other key rivals have reportedly withdrawn their bids. Europe’s Air Liquide decided not to bid as the acquisition could give it monopoly in the industry that in turn would invite disciplinary action.
The deal itself is expected to be worth over 1 trillion won (US$891.42 million), based on its EBITDA multiplied over 10 times, without removing non-recurring items. The sale manager is Deutsche Bank, which declined to comment on the matter.
Linde Korea is the fifth-largest industrial gas producer here by revenue. It’s wholly owned by German industrial gas giant The Linde Group. Headquartered in Pohang, South Gyeongsang Province, the firm is a supplier to companies such as Hanwha Total Petrochemical and Seetec, a petrochemical firm owned equally by Lotte Chemical and LG Chem. It has production facilities in Seosan in South Chungcheong Province and Giheung, Gyeonggi Province, in addition to Pohang. The company’s capital came to 178.6 billion won as of end-2017.
The group is looking to sell its local subsidiary to fulfill corrective action filed by the Fair Trade Commission here that cited market monopoly. After its 2018 blockbuster merger with US industrial gas giant Praxair -- one of the four largest gas companies in Europe that has a significant presence in Korea -- the FTC called on the group to sell off Korean assets affiliated to either Linde or Praxair, and related to the on-site or bulk supply of oxygen, nitrogen and argon gases.
By Son Ji-hyoung (firstname.lastname@example.org)