Air Products abandons takeover plan of China’s Yingde Gases

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 March, 2017, 7:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 March, 2017, 7:19pm

Air Products & Chemicals Inc said it’s pulling out of its bid to buy control of Yingde Gases Group Co., dropping a takeover which would have given it as much as 22 per cent share of China’s market for industrial gases.

“It is not in the best interests of Air Products’ shareholders to continue to pursue an acquisition of Yingde,” according to an emailed statement by the company based in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The expected withdrawal follows last week’s sale by Yingde’s ousted chairman Zhao Xiangti of a stake of 190 million shares to PAG Asia, a buyout fund that has tabled a binding takeover offer for the industrial gases firm.

Zhao’s sale -- combined with a stake pledged by his co-founders Mark Sun Zhongguo and Trevor Strutt -- brought PAG’s total holding to 47.2 per cent, a small gap away from the 50 per cent stake it was seeking for control.

Yingde and Air Products are both in the business of supplying oxygen and other types of industrial gases to steel mills and chemical plants.

The three founders of the Chinese company had been embroiled in a bitter feud for control since last November, resulting in a boardroom coup, and a showdown with shareholders that ended in Zhao’s ejection.