December 7, 2015 / 8:46 AM / 4 years ago

Linde buys respiratory care company to bolster healthcare

The logos of German industrial gases maker Linde are pictured at a factory in Vienna July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Linde LING.DE has agreed to buy respiratory therapies specialist American HomePatient to bolster its healthcare gases business amid weakness at its industrial divisions, the German gases maker said on Monday.

Linde provided no financial details for the purchase from Highland Capital Management LP, which it expects to close in the first quarter of 2016.

American HomePatient [HIAAMA.UL], which provides oxygen tanks and breathing masks for respiratory conditions including sleep apnea, had sales of about 260 million euros ($282 million) in its last financial year.

American HomePatient will be folded into Lincare, the healthcare business with roughly 1.5 billion euros in sales that Linde bought in 2012.

That deal made Linde the world’s largest supplier of healthcare gases, which has helped cushion the blow from weakness at its core industrial businesses.

Shares in Linde fell sharply last week after it cut its 2017 profit target, saying a slowdown in industrial production and low oil prices had hit customers in the petrochemical sector.

The German company has flagged pressure on prices from U.S. public-sector medical insurers but said its gains in market share would compensate for that.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by James Regan and David Clarke

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