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13 March 2007


Linde sells BOC Edwards’ Vacuum and Semiconductor Equipment business to private equity firm

Germany-based gas supplier Linde Group has sold the component business (vacuum pumps and semiconductor equipment) of BOC Edwards of Crawley, UK for €685m (£460m) to private equity firm CCMP Capital (via its affiliates CCMP Capital Advisors LLC and CCMP Capital Asia Ltd).

An additional payment of €65m (£45m) will be made if CCMP Capital succeeds in developing the business and subsequently exiting its investment (through an initial public offering or a trade sale to a strategic investor). With over 4000 staff worldwide, the components business had turnover of €860m in fiscal 2006. BOC Edwards’ pharmaceutical division remains a subsidiary of The Linde Group.

The companies expect to close the transaction between the beginning of May and the end of June. Financing will be provided by Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Barclays Bank, and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Linde acquired The BOC Group plc last September but, aiming to concentrate on the industrial gases and engineering business, it put the component business up for sale. Linde will continue to develop the bulk and specialty gases businesses of BOC Edwards.

“We feel they [CCMP] have a real understanding for our business and its potential and that their financial strength and scale will support the company as we develop our operations worldwide and capitalise on our strong market position,” says BOC Edwards’ chief executive Nigel Hunton. “This is the start of a new independent era for BOC Edwards in which we can focus on delivering world-class products and services to our customers.”

“Under CCMP’s ownership, BOC Edwards can move to a new level as an independent company and develop its technology in new markets whilst retaining leadership in its core areas,” believes Stephen Welton of CCMP Capital Advisors.

BOC Edwards has a rapidly growing Asian customer base, including semiconductor companies and equipment manufacturers in China, Korea, Japan and Singapore, adds John Lewis of CCMP Capital Asia. “We will support management, using CCMP’s presence and experience in these markets, to help BOC Edwards get closer to their fast growing Asian customer base.”

* Following an antitrust conditions imposed by the European Commission arising from the acquisition of The BOC Group, last week Linde sold its non-BOC UK gases activities (which include the supply of speciality gases for semiconductor manufacturing) to the industrial and medical gases company Air Liquide for €105m. Linde Gas UK achieved sales of about €60m in fiscal 2006 and currently employs about 280 staff.