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Linde sells BOC Edwards unit to CCMP

FRANKFURT, Germany --Linde AG, the world's biggest producer of industrial gases, said Monday it sold part of its BOC Edwards subsidiary to private equity firm CCMP Capital for 685 million euros ($901.12 million).

The announcement came as the Wiesbaden-based company said it earned 1.8 billion euros ($2.37 billion) in net profit in 2006, more than triple the 514 million euros it earned in 2005 as sales rose to 12.4 billion euros ($16.31 billion) from 9.5 billion euros a year earlier.

The deal to sell the unit of BOC Edwards, which was part of Britain's BOC Group PLC that Linde paid 12.4 billion euros for last year, is subject to regulatory approval.

Linde said that if New York-based CCMP moves to sell the operation it will pay the German company another 65 million euros ($85.51 million). BOC Edwards makes semiconductor components and vacuum pumps.

The German gas and engineering group also said it expects to see sales rise in 2007 and aims to reach an operating profit of 3 billion euros ($3.95 billion) by 2010. Last year, the company's operating profit reached 2.2 billion euros ($2.89 billion), up 30 percent from the year before.

Shares of Linde slipped slightly to close at 79.01 euros ($103.68) in Frankfurt.


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