Air Products will not appeal Airgas court ruling, will 'move on'

16 February 2011 16:37  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Air Products will not seek to appeal an adverse US court ruling that effectively ended its year-long $5.9bn (€4.4bn) battle to take over rival Airgas, the US-based international industrial gases major said on Wednesday.

Air Products would “move on” to other opportunities, although it did not see any deals on the scale of Airgas, CEO John McGlade and chief financial officer Paul Huck said in an analysts' call.

“We are done [with Airgas],” Huck said, when asked if his company might make a new bid for Airgas at a later time.

Air Products withdrew its $70/share offer for Airgas on Tuesday, after the Delaware Chancery Court upheld Airgas’s “stockholder rights plan”.

Commentators said the court’s decision was in line with rulings that upheld “poison pills” defences and favoured a target’s incumbent management in US takeover fights.

“We made our best and final offer of $70/share, and the Airgas board still will not let the Airgas shareholders decide for themselves whether they want to accept that offer,” said McGlade.

“Despite [Airgas statements], we are convinced they are unwilling to sell the company at any price,” he said.

“We believe the Airgas board has done a great disservice to the Airgas shareholders,” McGlade added.

Air Products launched the bid, initially for $60/share, in February 2010. Airgas continued to value the company at $78/share.

Meanwhile, Airgas announced a $300m share repurchase programme on Wednesday.

Air Products’ shares were up 3.86% to $93.70 at 10:45 local time in New York. Airgas shares were down 0.56% to $63.17.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653



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