Linde dismisses CFO Denoke a day after failed merger talks with Praxair

Linde said the tie-up talks with Praxair had been halted. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Frankfurt, Germany Sep 13, 2016, 07.28 PM (IST)
German industrial gas maker Linde on Tuesday announced the immediate departure of its chief financial officer, Georg Denoke, a day after his opposition to a potential $60 billion merger with US rival Praxair was identified as a major stumbling block to the failed talks.

Linde shares closed up more than 4.6 per cent on news of Denoke's dismissal.

"Georg Denoke will leave the management board of Linde AG, effective today," the firm said in a statement. 

His duties as CFO will be handled by Linde's head of group treasury, Sven Schneider, until a successor is appointed, it added.

Linde said the tie-up talks with Praxair had been halted after "discussions about details, specifically about governance aspects, did not result in a mutual understanding".

Sources on both sides had earlier told Bloomberg News that Denoke was opposed to the deal and had worked "behind the scenes" to get worker representatives on the board to back his position.

Denoke joined Linde in 2004 and was appointed its finance chief in 2006.

Linde also announced that its chief executive officer Wolfgang Buechele had decided not to stay on for another term after his contract ends in April 2017, citing his disappointment over the botched merger talks.

"My decisions at the top of our company have always been guided by the credo to further develop Linde as a successful, competitive, and strong global company," he said in the statement.

"I was personally disappointed that I could not reach the goal of creating the number one globally."

A merger between Linde and Praxair could have allowed the German firm to overtake historic French rival Air Liquide as the largest industrial gas supplier, with combined annual revenues of more than $30 billion.

But a Linde-Praxair tie-up would also have been subject to close regulatory scrutiny, as the number of large players in the market would have shrunk to three.

(WION with inputs from AFP)
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