FRANKFURT Linde (LING.DE) supervisory board Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle is still in favor of a tie-up between the German industrial gases maker and U.S. rival Praxair (PX.N), which has made a renewed merger proposal, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported.
The business daily cited sources close to the supervisory board as saying that Reitzle preferred a tie-up over going it alone and was also concerned that Praxair might turn hostile.
Praxair's recent concessions to Linde include giving the German group's Munich headquarters a bigger role than initially planned and as well as providing some job guarantees, Handelsblatt and daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung said in separate reports, without specifying their sources. Praxair has revived efforts to combine with Linde, with sources telling Reuters on Wednesday it has tried to address the main stumbling blocks to merger talks.
The collapse of initial negotiations in September led to the departure of finance chief Georg Denoke and Chief Executive Wolfgang Buechele staying on only until April, leaving Chairman Reitzle as the most powerful figure at Linde.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, editing by David Evans)