Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: "Gases – like oxygen and helium – are crucial inputs for a large variety of products we use every day. Manufacturers need to buy these gases from a small number of suppliers. We will carefully assess whether the proposed merger between Praxair and Linde would lead to higher prices or less choice for European consumers and businesses.” Praxair and Linde are two of the four largest companies active worldwide across the whole supply chains of industrial, medical and speciality gases. For example, they both supply carbon dioxide, which is widely used in the carbonated drinks industry and oxygen. The transaction would reduce the number of major players active worldwide and in Europe for the supply of these and many other gases to just three. Other players in the market only have regional, national or local presence and lack the technical and financial capabilities to compete on an equal footing. In addition, there is no indication that competition could be fostered by new entrants, due to the very high investment necessary to establish a meaningful position in the market.

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