Air Liquide, BOC To Combine Japanese Gases Operations

By Agence France-Presse French industrial gases group Air Liquide and Britain's BOC Group PLC have agreed to combine their Japanese industrial and medical gases businesses into a new company called Japan Air Gases, the two companies said Sept. 4. After the merger of Air Liquide Japan (ALJ) and BOC's Osaka Sanso Kogyo (OSK), Air Liquide will own 55% of the new venture and BOC 45%. The two companies say the combined firm will have annual sales of 138 billion yen (about US$1.17 billion), with annual cost savings estimated at five billion yen once the venture begins operations next year. Each company will be equally represented on the board of the new firm, but Paris-based Air Liquide will nominate the chief executive. The deal is subject to approval from OSK and ALJ shareholders and clearance from Japanese and European antitrust regulators. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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