Linde Sells Forklift Businesses

Posted on November 7, 2006

German industrial conglomerate Linde is selling its Kion forklift unit to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for $5.1 billion, the company said. Kion is the umbrella company for Linde's three forklift truck and industrial equipment brands, Linde, Still and OM.

Linde, which bought British rival BOC for $10.4 billion earlier this year to create the world's largest industrial gas producer, said the deal was subject to antitrust approval. Linde, which doubled its size through the leveraged BOC deal, wanted to sell its forklift business to become a pure-play gases producer. "We are utterly convinced that KKR and Goldman Sachs have the right overall concept for the group," Linde Chief Executive Wolfgang Reitzle said in a statement.

KKR and Goldman Sachs said they planned an initial public offering for Kion in the medium term.

A spokesman for KKR said that an initial public offering was conceivable from 2010 onwards. He said the growth strategy for the business would involve fresh funds for further acquisitions. "We will seek to tap the undoubted potential for growth and earnings in the company and to achieve sustainable increases in its value," Johannes Huth, European head of KKR, and Alexander Dibelius, head of central and eastern European operations for Goldman Sachs, said in a joint statement.

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