Linde raises $1.7 billion for U.S. Lincare acquisition
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German industrial gases producer Linde (LING.DE) raised 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) from a capital increase to help fund its $4.6 billion purchase of U.S. group Lincare LNCR.O.
The operator of air separation plants for steelmakers and supplier of medical gases said on Tuesday it was issuing 12.84 million new shares at 109 euros each.
Linde shares were down 0.6 percent to 114.55 euros at 5:50 a.m. EDT, recouping most of an earlier 4.7 percent fall, while the German blue chip index DAX .GDAXI was up 1.2 percent.
The offer price came in at the bottom of a pricing range of 109.00-111.50 euros that two traders had provided to Reuters. Linde declined to comment on that range.
Linde said on Monday it would go ahead with a private placement that excluded both subscription rights and a public offer.
As part of Linde's planned acquisition of Lincare, which would make it the world's largest supplier of medical gases, Linde said last week it would increase its capital by up to 1.5 billion euros.
"The strategic fit is obvious," said Silvia Quandt research analysts Ralf Groenemeyer, reaffirming his buy rating and 130 euro price target.
"The Lincare acquisition would make the company's earnings less cyclical, actually commanding higher valuation multiples."
Steffen Manske, an analyst with Essen, Germany-based National Bank argued investors had punished the share enough for the sizeable acquisition: "We continue to believe the takeover plan makes sense and is attractive for Linde and regard share price declines of 4 percent at overdone."
($1 = 0.8130 euro)
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner, Ludwig Burger, Andrea Lentz and Andreas Kroener; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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