Germany's Linde to buy Air Products' European homecare unit for $750 mn

Germany's Linde AG, the world's second-biggest supplier of industrial gases, yesterday said that it will acquire the Continental-European homecare business of US rival Air Products and Chemicals (APD) in a $750 million deal to expand its homecare respiratory business.

The transaction will give the Munich-based company APS's homecare operations in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain, which serves about 260,000 patients and had annual sales of €210 million last year.

Homecare is the term applied to medical services relating to the treatment of patients in settings other than hospitals. It comprises respiratory services such as oxygen therapy, sleep therapy, and ventilation services.

In 2010, Linde had global sales of around €280 million in this segment while it achieved €1.1 billion in the healthcare segment as a whole, which comprises not only homecare but also hospital care.

With the acquisition, Linde will almost double sales in this segment, making it among Europe's top suppliers of home care respiratory products.

Founded in 1879 by professor Doctor Carl von Linde, the group holds 21 per cent of the world's industrial gases market and revenues of €12.87 billion in 2010.