$100m for BOC if three-way deal fails

BOC WILL receive a $100m compensation payment if the agreed takeover of the industrial gases group by Air Liquide and Air Products is blocked for regulatory reasons.

The pounds 7.2bn deal unveiled yesterday values BOC shares at 1,460p and will result in the break-up of the business by the new French and US owners.

Danny Rosenkranz, BOC's chief executive, is in line for a pounds 5.7m pay-off while the finance director Tony Isaac could net pounds 2.3m. But the deal has left a question mark hanging over the 800-strong workforce at BOC's headquarters in Windlesham and Guildford in Surrey.

The MSF union described the deal as a "disaster" for BOC's workforce and called on Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, to intervene, while the TGWU said it was seeking urgent talks with BOC and the joint bidders.

However, Alain Joly, the chairman of Air Liquide, sought to play down any threat to jobs, saying the takeover would provide opportunities for growth.

Air Liquide and Air Products said they expected to conclude the deal in six months. Air Liquide will take on BOC operations in the UK, Ireland, Japan and Thailand, while Air Products will acquire its interests in Australia and New Zealand. BOC's US operations will be split between the two bidders.

Outlook, page 17

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