The Financial Times (FT) reports that the Germany-based medical and industrial gases company Linde is keen on tapping an opportunity that lies in the infamous toxic smog that China is trying to grapple with. Millions of people in China who inhale this hazardous smog are expected to develop respiratory diseases of varying severity over the years to come. This impending problem of respiratory diseases is also compounded by the fact that over 50% of men in China smoke cigarettes. Linde sees a remunerative opportunity for respiratory therapies and oxygen in this concerning scenario.
A few years ago, Linde acquired U.S.-based company, Lincare- which specialized in home-based respiratory care equipment and services- in a US$4.6 billion deal. The FT report quotes Linde’s chief executive, Wolfgang Büchele, who says that the company intends to use the Lincare platform to foray into China. However, this will only be possible after the company obtains a license permitting it to offer respiratory healthcare services in the homes of the most populous country in the world.
In his interview published on the leading news portal, Büchele says that the healthcare sector in China presents a massive opportunity for the company’s medical gases and related therapies. He was quoted as saying that Linde will venture into the Chinese market as soon as the Chinese system allows for it. Before doing so, the company will also wait to understand what how the country’s reimbursement model will work in this context. He did confirm, however, that his company was currently at a stage of “intensive discussions” with the government in China.
Linde, which is headquartered in Munich, has 66,000 employees as of June 2015, and boasts a market capitalization to the tune of €31 billion. The company’s annual revenue stands at €17 billion.
Linde, along with its competitors Praxair, Air Liquide, and Air Products, hold about 75% of the global industrial gas market, say market research experts.