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Linde CEO says expects to complete Praxair merger in 2018

MUNICH May 10 German industrial gases group Linde expects to complete its planned $70 billion merger of equals with U.S. peer Praxair in 2018 if negotiations are successfully completed, Chief Executive Aldo Belloni told shareholders on Wednesday.

The planned all-share deal has met unexpectedly strong opposition from labour representatives, including trade unionists, and talks to finalise a business combination agreement are taking longer than had been hoped.

"I would like to emphasise that this merger would create value - for everyone involved, especially for you the shareholders," Belloni said in a speech to Linde's annual general meeting in Munich.

"I can assure you that the planned merger also has great support in the Linde workforce." (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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