Linde-Praxair: Will merger have impact on HME?

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Friday, February 24, 2017

MUNICH and DANBURY, Conn. – Although industrial gas giant Linde continues to dip its toe in the waters of home care, its planned merger with Praxair likely won’t have a noticeable effect on the HME industry, say M&A analysts.

Linde and Praxair in December announced plans to merge, creating a combined company with revenues of about $30 billion. Linde is currently the No. 2 industrial gas company in the world and Praxair is No. 3.

“I don’t think we’ll see much impact from it at all,” said Brad Smith, managing director/partner at Vertess.

In August 2012, Linde made a big splash in HME when it acquired Lincare for $4.6 billion. In December 2015, Lincare announced it would acquire American HomePatient.

More recently, in January, Linde acquired Broadview, Ill.-based The Service Center, which provides oxygen transfilling, cylinder and respiratory equipment repair services in the Midwest and Southeast.

It’s good business sense to buy when the market is down, says Smith.

“The market for home care won’t always be down,” he said. “They are in it for the long-term play. Ultimately, they will sell it off.”