Linde to Buy U.S. Respiratory-Care Company American HomePatient

  • HomePatient to be integrated into Linde's Lincare unit
  • Acquisition comes after Linde reduced earnings targets

Linde AG agreed to buy respiratory health-care specialist American HomePatient Inc. to expand a medical-gas business in the U.S. that’s under pressure from government budget cuts.

American HomePatient, based in Brentwood, Tennessee, had sales of $280 million in the last fiscal year, Munich-based Linde said Monday in a statement. The company didn’t disclose the price it will pay the seller, the investment firm Highland Capital Management LP. Linde said it expects the deal to close in the first quarter.

Linde already has a significant position in the U.S. homecare market following its $3.8 billion acquisition in 2012 of Lincare Holdings Inc., which also provides medical gases to patients at home. Linde is expanding the operation to benefit from an aging population even though the company said this month that cuts in Medicare, the government program that provides health services to the elderly, will hurt earnings in the next few years.

“This acquisition will strengthen our growth in the U.S. and further improve our efficiency,” Linde Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Buechele said in the statement. “We are striving towards the further internationalization of our health-care business.”

American HomePatient employs about 2,700 people and is mainly active in the eastern U.S., Linde said Monday. Highland Capital acquired the company in 2010 after building up its stake in the maker of medical gases over several years. The company serves patients with severe forms of lung disease and sleep apnea.

Linde rose 0.7 percent to 138.65 euros at 10:30 a.m. The stock plunged 14 percent on Dec. 1 when the company cut its targets.

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