Christian Bruch following the merger of Linde AG and Praxair Inc.: ''Russia will remain one of our most important market''
The Executive Vice President & CEO, Linde Engineering, on the creation of the world’s largest industrial gases and engineering company, and a joint project with BASF
A delegation of Linde Engineering's top managers chaired by Executive Vice President, Linde plc, Dublin and Guildford & CEO, Linde Engineering, Christian Bruch along with Managing Director, Linde Engineering, John van der Velden and Managing Director and Member of the Board of Directors, Linde Engineering, Tilman Weide recently made a business trip to Tatarstan. The guests visited the head office of their long-term partners TAIF GC where they discussed the next big joint project – construction of an ethylene complex with a capacity of 1.2 million tonnes a year. Later, in an interview with Realnoe Vremya online newspaper, Mr Bruch discussed the recent major milestone in the history of Linde, its impact on the world market, and shared his vision for the development of relations with Russia and Tatarstan.
TAIF GC and Linde AG: ambitious plans ahead
Officials of TAIF Group and Linde AG had often met previously, too. The companies have been fruitfully cooperating for 16 years and have had tens of implemented projects. The partners always have things to discuss, Mr Bruch is convinced.
''It was very important for us to discuss key issues relating to the implementation of the project in Nizhnekamsk. Of course, we talked not only about it but also about our joint plans for the future. As it's known, an MoU with a total value of about €12 billion was signed between Linde and TAIF Group in 2017. This is why we're discussing not only downstream opportunities of our current project but also several projects in other areas, which we could develop together with TAIF and Nizhnekamskneftekhim. For example, it's a natural gas monetisation project and bringing new technologies to Tatarstan together with TAIF GC. In 2019, we intend to meet on several occasions to continue an in-depth discussion of these items and be able to draw conclusions of the results.''
Merger of Linde AG and Praxair Inc. reunites the family
It was recently reported that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the merger of Linde AG (a German group of companies, the second-biggest supplier of industrial gases in the world) with Praxair Inc. (an American company ranking third in the global market of industrial gas suppliers).
The merger procedure kicked off in 2017 and, according to plan, was completed in late 2018. The anti-monopoly agencies of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Korea and Mexico approved the merger. The absence of approval from the FTС was the last obstacle and to obtain it the companies had to sell some assets. Despite this, the merged corporation has a market capitalization of about US$90 billion while pro-forma revenues for 2018 were approximately $28 billion.
''Linde plc is now the world's largest industrial gases and engineering company, employing approximately 80,000 people globally, and serving customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. For us, the merger is like reuniting the family because initially Linde was founded by Carl von Linde in 1879, who then founded Praxair in 1907,'' said Christian Bruch.
''What will this mean for our customers? We will be able to provide even better products and services. We are financially stronger, which means we will have the opportunity of increased investments alongside our customers,'' stressed the Executive Vice President & CEO, Linde Engineering.
After the merger, the company considers Russia in general, and Tatarstan in particular, as one of the major and most promising markets to provide its services and implement new projects.
''We are always looking for opportunities. In the last year, we have invested roughly €200 million in Russia (as Linde) and we would like to continue to look for opportunities to invest in projects with our customers. For all our engineering and technology businesses, Russia will remain one of our most important markets and we are continuously seeking close cooperation and collaboration with our customers. Prior to the merger, the largest proportion of our technology and engineering employees were located outside Germany, for example in our office in Russia,'' shared Mr Bruch.
Linde and BASF agree on cooperation
BASF and Linde Engineering have agreed to cooperate on developing technology for natural gas processing in the wake of a successful joint project of linear butene and butadiene production currently underway.
The companies intend to unite BASF's Durasorb adsorbent technology with Linde's adsorption and membrane technology to purify natural gas. The result will reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of processing gas high in heavy hydrocarbons and CO2. BASF and Linde plan to focus on those companies that must now use high-cost alternative technologies, and process gas mixtures that were previously unavailable.
''This is a joint technology project with BASF, and there are other such projects ongoing, with the aim of developing the right technologies to benefit our customers, particularly in Russia and Tatarstan,'' Christian Bruch noted. He added he would be glad when this promising technology found practical application in processes and factories of Linde's long-term partners in Tatarstan.