Report: AMAT, Unaxis eyeing BOC unit sale

July 24, 2006 – Following the agreed-upon acquisition of BOC by German gas company Linde announced earlier this year, Applied Materials and Unaxis, as well as investor firm Texas Pacific Group, are positioning themselves to snap up portions of the business that may be carved out of the combined entity, according to a local newspaper report.

In March, the BOC Group and Linde agreed to create what will be the world’s largest gas supplier, surpassing Air Liquide with combined annual revenues of some $14.3 billion. BOC’s unit BOC Edwards sells both gas and equipment to the semiconductor industry (the unit’s GBP 826 million in FY05 revenues represented ~18% of the group’s overall sales, but only about 20%-25% of those sales were for gases), and is third in marketshare in the $2.1 billion semiconductor gas sector, according to figures from SEMI.

Discussing the deal in an analyst call, Linde president and CEO Wolfgang Reitzle acknowledged that as a pure-play gas company, the combined entity intended to evaluate strategic options for noncore businesses, which may include BOC Edwards’ semiconductor equipment business.

Without citing sources, the Financial Times Deutschland reports that Applied Materials and Unaxis have initiated talks with investment banks to help advise them on potential purchases of the carved-out BOC units, noted Reuters. The businesses being sold amounted to annual sales of 600-800 million euros ($760 million-$1.01 billion). Formal talks over the unit sales won’t be held until the overall acquisition is completed, sometime in September, the report noted.


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