Linde is aiming for a merger among equals with the US company Praxair. This merger would bring together two leading companies for industrial gases, allowing both players to exploit their respective strengths. Linde’s established position as a technology leader would be combined with Praxair’s operational excellence, allowing a new global market leader to emerge. The merged company would have a strong position in all key regions and end markets, creating a balanced, more diversified global portfolio. This strategic merger would combine the potential, excellent employees and first- class processes of both companies.
Developments in the markets in which Linde operates have accelerated. The competition has also become even more intense. It is absolutely crucial for the company to become more agile so that it can react to customer requirements in a highly efficient manner and exploit any opportunities that present themselves.
As part of the Focus restructuring programme, Linde has taken key organisational adjustment steps in recent years to implement structures that will ensure effective procedures in the future, too. In the three-year period from 2015 to 2017, this programme aims to reduce costs by around EUR 180 m.
Linde also launched the LIFT programme in the autumn of 2016 in order to secure its entrepreneurial success in the long term, too. The company plans to use this initiative to further optimise its portfolio, which includes plans to sell the logistics service provider Gist. As well as reviewing the range of products and services on offer, the company’s regional activities are also being put under the microscope. The company will be withdrawing from unattractive regional markets. In general, regional responsibility will be strengthened further in order to accelerate any necessary local restructuring measures. Linde intends to streamline cross-sectional functions and bring decision-making processes and competencies even closer to the operating business.
In general, LIFT aims to establish flatter hierarchies and a wider span of control. Processes will be streamlined and be made more decision-oriented. Linde will be investing in digital distribution channels to fully exploit the opportunities that digital customer relationships offer. It will forge ahead with process standardisation and automation, for example by making use of opportunities for electronic invoicing and payment. Savings potential not relating to personnel will also be exploited.
Another aspect involves ensuring the competitive- ness of Linde Engineering. This will involve reviewing the cost structure, improving the technological basis, expanding the service business and pressing ahead with plant standardisation.
The company aims to use the LIFT programme to reduce costs by around EUR 370 m a year from 2019 onwards.