UpdateAir Products balks at talk of raising Airgas bid

26 October 2010 23:16  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--Air Products on Tuesday dismissed a call by the Airgas board of directors for Air Products to raise its $5.5bn (€4.0bn) bid for the US industrial gases distributor.

Airgas said its board was willing to authorise talks on Air Products' unsolicited takeover bid if the offer price was raised to more than $70/share.

“Each of our 10 directors is of the view that the current Air Products offer of $65.50/share is grossly inadequate,” Airgas said in a letter to Air Products CEO John McGlade.

Airgas pointed to strong year-on-year profit growth in its most recent quarter, which ended on 30 September.

Air Products replied: "There is nothing in the Airgas earnings or letter that changes our view of value. It is time for the Airgas board either to negotiate with us or terminate the company's poison pill and let Airgas shareholders decide for themselves."

Airgas shareholders voted at the company’s 2010 meeting on 15 September to replace three Airgas board members with three nominees from Air Products.

The Airgas board of directors was fighting a company by-law change to move up Airgas’s 2011 meeting by eight months to 18 January, which would give Air Products the opportunity to nominate a majority on the 10-member Airgas board and push through the takeover.

Additional reporting by Stefan Baumgarten

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Brian Ford
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