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FRANKFURT, July 18 (Reuters) - German industrial gases group Linde has received approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its planned 8.2 billion pound ($15 billion) takeover of UK rival BOC Group, Linde said on Tuesday.
The German company agreed to divest eight air separation units in the United States as well as three liquid helium purchase agreements with suppliers in the United States, Russia and Poland as well as associated assets.
The divestments correspond to a sales volume of about 180 million euros ($226 million), Linde added. Brokerage Merck Finck said in a note the turnover amounted to just 1.6 percent of the combined Linde-BOC sales.
Linde shares were the second-biggest gainers on Frankfurt's DAX <.GDAXI> bluechip index at 0715 GMT, up 1.2 percent at 61.83 euros. The index was up 0.3 percent.
"This was the last open question that stood in the way of the publication of Linde's official takeover offer. With this, Linde is well on track in its timeframe for the takeover," said Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz analyst Silke Stegemann, adding that the disposals required in the United States were no surprise.
The company had received approval for the acquisition from European regulators last month, conditional on its divesting businesses with sales of around 160 million euros.
"We will swiftly take the next steps to implement the transaction," Linde Chief Executive Wolfgang Reitzle said in the statement. A spokesman said the company would react quickly to fulfil the regulators' requirements.
An offer to BOC shareholders will be launched shortly and is expected to be completed in September, Linde said.
Linde's acquisition of BOC will create the world's biggest industrial gases company ahead of Air Liquide.
To help finance the deal, the company is expected to either float or sell its forklifts unit in a deal analysts say will bring in more than 3 billion euros.
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