Linde (company)

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Linde plc

legal form Public limited company
founding June 21, 1879
Seat Dublin , IrelandIrelandIreland 
Number of employees 79,900 (2019)
sales 28.2 billion US dollars (2019)
Branch Gas
plant construction
As of December 31, 2019

The Linde plc is a publicly listed, global industrial group based in the Irish Dublin and operational headquarters in the UK Guildford , which by 2018 merger of Germany's Linde AG with the original also of Carl von Linde founded and in the First World War confiscated US competitors Praxair was . Linde's core business is gases and process systems that extract or manufacture gases. Linde is the world market leader in the industrial gases sector, ahead of its French competitor Air Liquide .


1871 to 1900

The founder Carl von Linde (1868)

In 1873, a cooling machine based on Carl von Linde's ideas was installed on a trial basis in the Spaten brewery in Munich . The agreement for this was concluded in 1871 and the patent applied for in 1873. Since Carl von Linde was unable to finance the construction of his refrigeration machines himself, he ceded a sixth of the patent rights to Gabriel Sedlmayr , Johann Sedlmayr and Georg Krauss for 4,000 Reichsmarks each . This financial consortium was joined in 1877 by the entrepreneur Heinrich von Buz from Maschinenfabrik Augsburg , who received a further sixth of the patent rights from Carl von Linde for 12,000 Reichsmarks, leaving Linde with only a third of the rights. After difficult and protracted negotiations, the four partners (Gabriel and Johann Sedlmayr had merged their shares in 1877) together with Carl Lang and Gustav Jung from the Mainzer Aktien-Bierbrauerei founded the Gesellschaft für Linde's Eismaschinen Aktiengesellschaft in Wiesbaden as an engineering office on June 21, 1879 . Carl Lang (Chairman), Carl Sedlmayr (representing Gabriel Sedlmayr), Georg Krauss, Heinrich von Buz and Gustav Jung formed the company's first supervisory board. Carl von Linde was the only member of the board from 1879 until after 11 years he handed the position over to his colleague Friedrich Schipper, who then held the office for 39 years. The board was not expanded until 1920. The company had a share capital of 200,000 Reichsmarks, of which the banker Moritz von Hirsch as a silent partner together with Carl Lang contributed half, while Buz, Sedlmayr and Krauss contributed their patent rights for the other 100,000 Reichsmarks. On the founding date, two hundred shares of 1,000 Reichsmarks each were issued; The exact distribution of these shares is not known; Lang and von Hirsch presumably received 50 of them and the other partners 30 shares each. After Moritz von Hirsch had bought the rights for the French market from the company for 50,000 Reichsmarks in the same year, he founded an ice cream factory in Paris and an engineering office in which from 1880 a. a. young Rudolf Diesel works.

Model of the chiller sold in 1877

After the company was founded, Carl von Linde gave up his civil servant position as professor at the Royal Bavarian Technical University, which is now the Technical University of Munich . In 1891, after handing over the position on the board of directors to Schipper, Carl von Linde left Wiesbaden. From May to September 1891, Linde lived with his family in his holiday villa on the Salzberg above Berchtesgaden. He then went to the Royal Bavarian Technical University in Munich as a full professor, from 1900 without a teaching position.

From 1891, von Linde began to develop the Linde process named after him for separating air , which was promoted in 1892 by an order from the Guinness brewery . In 1893, Carl von Linde gave a lecture in which oxygen liquefaction was addressed. In mid-1894 he mentioned thoughts on an "oxygen machine" in his letters.

From the "Linde-Luft" the company developed liquid air explosives in 1895 , which it manufactured under the name Oxyliquit , especially in Germany for civil and military purposes until after the First World War . Oxyliquit production is complicated. For example, if liquid air is mixed with coal powder, it is only explosive until the liquid air has evaporated from the mixture. When the liquid air has evaporated, coal powder remains, which by itself has no explosive effect. Ie: Oxyliquit had to be mixed together at the place of consumption. This required a lot of liquid air, which can be found on site, e.g. B. in a quarry, first had to generate, because liquid air evaporates quickly.

1900 to 1976

Share in the company for Linde's ice machines from 1926

On February 8, 1901, Carl von Linde put an "oxygen machine" into operation in a newly built test station in the Pullach district of Höllriegelskreuth . The apparatus installed there delivered a mixture of 50% oxygen and 50% nitrogen, later called Linde air. It was filled into steel bottles below 150 atm and put on the market.

In June 1902 a fire destroyed the first test facility. When the new construction of the apparatus was completed shortly afterwards, Carl von Linde replaced the heavy-weight evaporator construction with a rectification column filled with glass beads ( rectification process ). This device was the first in the world to produce pure oxygen in a cryogenic manner.

A third version was created in early 1903. The pearl column was replaced by a column with sieve trays. In this device, the counterflow was designed to be significantly more material-saving, the compression of the air was also selected to be higher and the additional air condenser that was previously necessary was dispensable. This third version of the oxygen machine delivered 10 cubic meters of 98% oxygen per hour and was used for production in Pullach for many years .

In 1903 Linde built a second oxygen plant, the plant in Unterbarmen . It was equipped with an identical apparatus.

In order to get a better position on the oxygen market, which was flourishing at the time, the Linde-Gesellschaft founded the joint sales subsidiary, Vereinigteoxidwerke GmbH, with IG Farben in 1904 , which Linde took over into its own oxygen works GmbH in Berlin in 1910.

Another company founded by Linde is Güldner-Motorenwerke . Together with Hugo Güldner and Georg von Krauss , the company was founded in Munich in 1904 and moved to Aschaffenburg in 1906 . In 1929 the Güldner-Motorenwerke were taken over by the Gesellschaft für Linde Eismaschinen and gradually restructured.

In 1907, Carl von Linde founded Linde Air Products, a US subsidiary. This was confiscated during World War I and was merged with the National Carbon Company, Perst-O-Lite Company and Union Carbide Company to form Union Carbide & Carbon Corporation in 1917 . Since 1989, this company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange as an independent company under the name Praxair .

The company department for gas liquefaction and gas separation became the group’s most important source of revenue from the 1920s under the leadership of the founder's son Friedrich (* 1870, † 1965).

From 1933 Linde produced small diesel engines and from 1938 gas engines and generators as well as larger diesel engines and tractors .

During the Nazi era , Linde profited from Germany's attempt to make itself independent of imports with synthetic gasoline and rubber . In 1935, General Director Friedrich Linde received the title of Defense Economy Leader, which on the one hand underscored Linde's national importance and on the other hand allowed the company to continue to benefit from a large number of orders for armament. The operations manager in Höllriegelskreuth , Alfred Hess, uncle of Rudolf Hess , was one of the directors' closest employees .

Before and during World War II departments Linde were involved in arms production: As the company was on the Heylandt Society for apparatus engineering at German rocket program involved; other branches manufactured welding equipment and motors for the defense industry. 1941 Linde made production lines for the IG Farben owned ammonia plant Merseburg GmbH in the concentration camp Auschwitz II , two other planned facilities have been due to the war no longer installed. According to estimates by the company, between 400 and 500 people were used for forced labor in the production plants in mid-1944 .

In 1956, Linde built its first hydrostatically driven transport vehicle (Hydrocar) in Aschaffenburg . From 1958 Linde built forklifts with hydrostatic transmissions.

After a sale of the engine and tractor production had failed, the board of directors decided on March 21, 1969 to stop the tractor production and instead expand the forklift production.

Johannes Wucherer, also a grandson of the company founder - from relatives by marriage - had been on the management board since 1961 and on the supervisory board from 1972, and because Wucherer supported Meinhardt in important decisions, Hermann Linde finally withdrew entirely from his grandfather's company in 1976. Meinhardt became his successor and a little later took over the management of the company. Looking back, Meinhardt said of his relationship with Hermann Linde: "We always had different opinions when it came to the essentials." Johannes Wucherer, husband of Carl von Linde's granddaughter, was on the company's board of directors from 1961. From 1971, Hermann Linde and Hans Meinhardt were also members of the board of directors in addition to usurers. Wucherer and Meinhardt isolated Hermann Linde when making important decisions.

Hermann Linde had advocated technical leadership as a decisive competitive advantage. Meinhardt saw the overall responsibility with the central management board and expanded the former administrative center into a central administration, with access to all management levels in the individual branches. Meinhardt invested heavily in forklifts, tripling the number of employees, while under him the group turnover increased fourfold through acquisitions. After successes, large-scale plant engineering also became globalized in Germany and South Africa. Nevertheless, forklift trucks with a Porsche design became the trademark of Linde AG, and Meinhardt continued to look for new business areas.

In 1965 the company was renamed Linde AG .

Still GmbH, founded by Hans Still in Hamburg in 1920 (SE Fahrzeugwerke GmbH until 1960), which had already presented its first forklift truck (EGS 1000) in 1949, was taken over by Linde in 1973.

The group began building up the gas business in Brazil and Australia in 1974.

1976 to 2003

The then spokesman for the board, Hermann Linde, handed over management to Hans Meinhardt in 1976 . In 1977 Linde bought the Baker Material Handling Corporation in Cleveland , Ohio . In 1984 Linde took over the French forklift manufacturer Fenwick-Linde SARL. In 1989 the group also bought the British forklift manufacturer Lansing.

In 1993, Linde founded a joint venture with the second largest Chinese manufacturer of forklifts in Xiamen ( People's Republic of China ) .

2001 Patent acquisition for nitrogen monoxide

In 2001, Linde AG acquired Aktiebolaget Gas-Accumulator (AGA), a patent license and its entire business for the medical use of nitrogen monoxide . It is INOmax, a gas mixture that contains 100, 800 (in the US) or 400 ppm (in the EU) nitric oxide (NO) as an active ingredient and is used as a medicine for the treatment of newborns with lung failure accompanied by high blood pressure in the lungs ( hypoxic respiratory failure ) is permitted. As the exclusive worldwide licensee of this patent, Linde sells INOmax through its subsidiary INO Therapeutics in the USA and, since 2002, in Europe too. This nitrogen monoxide gas mixture is viewed as a by-product of industrial production and could be obtained cheaply from various suppliers before it was patented by Linde.

The exclusive patent for the use of nitric oxide for the treatment of lung dysfunction was 1997 by General Hospital Corp. granted. The competitor Air Products & Chemicals had already filed an objection against the granting of the European patent in 1998, but this was rejected by decision of the European Patent Office on February 19, 2001. Air Products & Chemicals, and subsequently Air Liquide, filed a complaint against this. According to the Heidelberg University Hospital , they had already begun to scientifically study inhaled nitrogen monoxide in the autumn of 1991. The patent for the NO treatment was only applied for in December 1991, after the process was already known in Heidelberg and elsewhere.

For this reason there has been a legal dispute over the granting of a patent for years. After acquiring a patent for nitrogen monoxide, Linde AG, as the new monopoly in this area, increased the price of the previously inexpensive gas, which is used in infant medicine, by 50 times. After public pressure had built up regarding the marketing practices of the Linde Group for its product INOmax, the European Patent Office declared the patent used by Linde on the use of nitric oxide to treat lung dysfunction on November 17, 2004 after the objection by Air Products & Chemicals and Air Liquide ineffective.

According to the analysts, the majority of sales and all profits are generated with INOmax in the USA. In the first three quarters of 2004, INOmax achieved sales of EUR 8 million in Europe. According to the information, Linde achieved sales of EUR 104 million with the product in the 2003 financial year, with a good 90% of sales coming from the USA. Linde is also the only supplier of the product in the USA. There the product is much more accepted on the market, according to a spokesman for Linde.

On September 18, 2013, European patent EP0786264B1, which covers the use of nitric oxide (NO) for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, was granted to patent applicant General Hospital Corp. protected, repealed by the European Patent Office. A short time later, Westfalen AG announced that it would resume sales of NO gas for medical purposes at short notice and assert claims for damages against Linde. Linde obtained an injunction against Westfalen AG in December 2012.

2003 to 2015

Headquarters in Munich
Carl-von-Linde-Haus, name of the Angerhof by Linde

In 2003 Wolfgang Reitzle took over the management of the linden group from Gerhard Full . In 2004 Linde Kältetechnik was sold to the Carrier Corporation , in 2008 the head office of Linde AG was relocated from the historic Wiesbaden headquarters to Munich; The new company headquarters is the Angerhof building in downtown Munich; the new name of the group became The Linde Group .

At the Annual General Meeting on May 20, 2014, Wolfgang Büchele took over the position of CEO from his predecessor Wolfgang Reitzle, who was no longer able to continue in this position due to an age limit.

In 2015, Linde AG posted sales of 17.944 billion euros with a consolidated operating profit of 4.131 billion euros (+ 5.4% compared to the previous year).

Linde Hydrogen Concepts GmbH was founded in Munich in December 2015. From April 2016 to June 2018, the company operated the world's first car sharing system with hydrogen cars under the brand name BeeZero .

Since 2016 - merger with Praxair

At the Supervisory Board meeting on December 7, 2016, Aldo Belloni took over the position of CEO from Wolfgang Büchele, who announced his resignation at the end of the day. At the same meeting, the Linde AG Supervisory Board voted to resume talks with the competitor Praxair , which originally belonged to Linde itself, for a merger as a “merger of equals”. These discussions were unilaterally broken off by Linde in September 2016 because they could not agree on key issues relating to the location of the company headquarters and management positions. At the beginning of December, Praxair sent a new proposal on the disputed points to Linde AG, whereupon the companies announced the merger on December 20, 2016. The Linde AG works council opposes the merger.

On June 1, 2017, the Linde AG Supervisory Board approved the merger and the Business Combination Agreement (BCA) with the US gas company Praxair. After the merger, the new holding company will operate under the old name Linde plc. are based in Ireland and operate central operations in the UK. If the merger is approved, Linde would replace its French competitor Air Liquide as the world market leader. The approval by the European antitrust authorities was granted subject to certain conditions. The approval of the US antitrust authorities was granted on October 22, 2018, subject to conditions. Until the implementation of the US requirements, which must be met by Linde AG by January 29, 2019, Linde and Praxair are obliged to continue to conduct their business independently and separately from one another worldwide.

The conditions stipulate that Praxair will sell its gas business in Europe and Linde AG will sell large parts of its previous American business. Praxair's European business went to Japanese competitor Taiyo Nippon Sanso for 5 billion euros in July 2018 . The Messer Group, together with financial investor CVC Capital Partners , bought a large part of Linde's business in the United States and other locations in Latin America with a sales volume of 1.7 billion euros for 2.8 billion euros .

On October 24, 2018, Linde AG merged with Praxair and relocated to Dublin . On October 30, 2018, the Linde AG share in the DAX was exchanged for the share of the new Linde plc. The share swap should be completed on October 31, 2018 and Linde plc included in the S&P 500 by replacing Praxair.

Linde plans to move its German headquarters from downtown Munich to the factory premises in the Pullach suburb by 2021 , with around 850 jobs being cut.

Business areas of the group of companies

Gases Division (gas business department)

Linde Schiedam, stored liquid gas tanks
Linde Gas Factory for the production of gaseous nitrogen
Linde tank for liquid hydrogen
TrailH2 mobile hydrogen filling station from Linde

After the unification of Germany, Linde invested in Eastern Europe and made acquisitions in the gases business: After the fall of the Wall (1990), Linde took over the technical gases division of the Leunawerke in Leuna . In 1991 Linde acquired a majority stake in the leading Czechoslovak gas distributor Technoplyn as and took over the company completely in 1995. In 1992 the shares held since 1974 in the largest Dutch supplier of technical gases, WA Hoek's Machineen Zuurstoffabriek NV in Schiedam, were increased to over 60%. In 1993 Linde opened the world's largest gas center in Leuna. In 1997, an international consortium with participation from Linde was commissioned to supply the Mexican oil company Pemex with nitrogen for fifteen years . Linde built the world's largest air liquefaction plant for this purpose . The order value for Linde was more than 150 million US dollars.

Linde also acquired from Air Products GmbH Salzburg their hydrogen activities in Austria and built the carbon dioxide business in Austria by two majority stakes further. Linde and AGA ( Lidingö / Sweden ) agreed to cooperate in the planning and construction of air separators, hydrogen and carbon monoxide plants.

In 1999 Linde reacquired the naming rights for Linde in the USA from Union Carbide and was now able to operate under this name worldwide. In December 1999 the group took over the Swedish gas manufacturer Aktiebolag Gas-Accumulator (AGA), based in Lidingö , Sweden . According to its own information, this made Linde the fourth-largest gas supplier in the world.

In 2006 Linde acquired the British industrial gases company BOC for twelve billion euros , following a cooperation since 2002 in air separation and synthesis gas plants . The transaction was financed, among other things, by a capital increase. This made Linde the world's largest manufacturer of industrial gases.

At the beginning of 2007 Linde sold the Polish gas business of the BOC Group to the American competitor Air Products . Air Products paid a total of 370 million euros for the division. In the same year, Linde took over the Turkish industrial gases company Birleşik Oksijen Sanayi A.Ş. for 92 million euros.

The Linde Gas division is a leading supplier of medical and industrial gases in Europe. In 2011, the division with 39,031 employees achieved sales of 11.061 billion euros and an operating profit of 3.041 billion euros. Linde Gas Therapeutics GmbH , which operated under AGA Linde Healthcare until 2004, belongs to it.

Areas of application for technical gases can be found in medicine (e.g. endoscopy and ventilation ), the food industry (cooling and freezing of food with nitrogen and carbon dioxide ), packaging of food in a modified atmosphere (nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen), the chemical industry (use of oxygen to increase the performance of Claus and FCC systems), metallurgy ( refining steel with oxygen, heat treatment), rubber and plastics industry (deburring rubber parts, internal gas pressure technology), construction industry (soil freezing and concrete cooling with liquid nitrogen, neutralization of construction site waste water with carbon dioxide) or Environmental technology (revitalization of waters and sewage treatment plants with oxygen) and welding technology (shielding gas mixtures or oxygen and acetylene in oxy-fuel welding ). Furthermore, pure gases and precision gas mixtures are used as operating and calibration gases in many areas of measurement technology and the semiconductor industry.

Engineering Division (technical engineering department)

The headquarters of the global Linde Engineering product line is still in Höllriegelskreuth near Munich. The name of the plant construction division in the group was TVT for low temperature and process technology.

In the 1960s, with Hermann Linde on the board, plant construction had switched to developing turnkey and tailor-made large-scale plants for the petrochemical industry , with solutions in which both very low and very high temperatures played a role. With more than 1,500 process engineering patents and 3,500 systems built, Linde Engineering is a world leader.

The offer includes consulting, sales and the construction of tailor-made large-scale systems with process calculation, construction and global procurement of the necessary equipment through to supervision of turnkey production, delivery, construction and assembly.

At Linde Engineering 4,500 employees work at more than twenty locations worldwide. In 2015, 7,186 employees (mainly engineers) generated sales of 2.594 billion euros. A larger subsidiary is, for example, Linde Engineering Dresden GmbH (LEDD).

There are still own production workshops in Germany in the Schalchen and Höllriegelskreuth locations . Construction and assembly work is outsourced to local subcontractors.

Systems are mainly planned and implemented for the following industries:

Process engineering test facilities

In cooperation with the Norwegian Statoil , Linde produced the use of wound heat exchangers ( heat exchangers ) on floating platforms for the liquefaction of natural gas and built a corresponding test facility to carry out relevant theoretical and practical studies. Such a maritime approach enables the liquefaction of the natural gas directly above the submarine borehole and facilitates the use of natural gas fields even in remote maritime regions; the construction of pipelines is not necessary when using this technology. The trials were completed in 2007.

Gist Division (core and infrastructure division)

The Gist Division comprises logistics and supply chain solutions for retail and industry. More than 5,000 people are employed at 40 locations.

Former divisions

Linde E20 electric forklift
The now closed plant in Kostheim
Linde microwave LMG 701

A subsidiary of Linde was the laundry chain Fred Butler (Cleaning Enterprises), which offered alternative laundry methods using a CO 2 process developed by Linde . This chain, which was founded in 2006, was closed and wound up by Linde in 2011. The reason was u. a. high personnel costs indicated.

The Nauticor GmbH & Co. KG (2016 Bomin Linde LNG ), based in Hamburg is a supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel for shipping and was the company 2019/2020 Gasum sold. Nauticor also covers the LNG value chain from purchasing and transport to storage, distribution and fueling of ships in strategically important ports.

Material handling

Linde set to 2006 in the corporate sector , Linde Material Handling and industrial equipment and warehouse trucks ago. Among other things, the Linde forklifts became known . The group also owned the Still and OM Pimespo forklift brands .

On August 1, 2006, the group spun off its forklift truck division with Linde Material Handling , Still and Officine Meccaniche (OM) into the newly founded Kion Group and sold it in November 2006 for € 4 billion to a consortium of finance companies Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co . (KKR) and Goldman Sachs .


The former refrigeration technology sector dates back to the founding days of Lindes Eismaschinen AG . In 1996 Linde took over the refrigeration technology company Frigorex AG Lucerne from the Swiss company Sulzer AG in Winterthur . In 2003, 6,361 employees worldwide generated sales of 866 million euros. In 2003, Linde-Kältetechnik was the market leader in Europe for refrigerators and freezers in the food retail sector. Linde Kältetechnik was sold to the US company Carrier Corporation in 2004 . The refrigeration technology division also worked in the area of ​​room and process cooling. In 2006, production in the Mainz-Kostheim plant was discontinued, so that today no refrigerators are produced under the Linde name .

domestic appliances

In 1967 the household appliances division , which mainly manufactured refrigerators and freezers for private use, was spun off into its own GmbH and finally sold to AEG . Between 1973 and 1976, microwave ovens were also sold under the name Linde . A copy is exhibited today in the German Historical Museum in Berlin . After the end of sales of household appliances under the Linde logo, the trademark was deleted from the commercial register in 1978.

Stock exchange listing

The company's share is listed on both the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange and is part of the DAX and S&P 500 .


From 1996 to 2005 the Linde Group sponsored the international golf tournament "Linde German Masters ".

In addition, as part of a Linde supports public-private partnership , the Hessian upper stages - boarding school for high achievers "Hansenberg Castle" financial and substantive. Linde has also been a partner of the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) since 2010 .

Linde is season partner of the Bavarian State Opera .

The group also maintains close ties with the Technical University of Munich. This was done by setting up the Carl von Linde Academy and an endowed chair. In addition, the former CEO Reitzle appeared regularly as a visiting professor. Most of the former CEOs were graduates from the Technical University of Munich.


  • Hans-Liudger Dienel : The Linde AG. History of a technology company 1879–2004. CH Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-51484-7 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Georg Veranneman: Technical gases. Production, distribution, application (= The Library of Technology. Volume 10). Modern industry publishing house, Landsberg am Lech 1987, ISBN 3-478-93010-3 .

Web links

Commons : The Linde Group  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  13. a b c d e f Linde Hydraulics: Chronicle.
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  19. Linde loses exclusive patent. In: Retrieved August 26, 2017 .
  20. Patent EP0786264B : Device for treating pulmonary vasoconstriction and asthma. Published October 31, 2007 , inventor: Claes Frostell, SE; Warren M. Zapol, US.
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  38. Matthias Kamp: Linde and Praxair: Messer buys further Linde stores in the USA. Retrieved January 14, 2019 .
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  47. CHEManager: Linde takes over Turkish BOS on May 13, 2007.
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  54. Wirtschaftswoche : Linde boss Reitzle wants to get the cleaning industry going , March 12, 2008.
  55. ^ Financial Times Germany. September 23, 2011, p. 5.
  56. of November 14, 2019
  57. from February 26, 2018
  58. Handelszeitung : Kion Group: Linde sells forklift division , November 22, 2006.
  59. Annual Report 2003 , p. 3.
  60. fr-online: Mainz-Kostheim: vacancy at Linde Wiesbaden .
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  68. ^ TUM Carl von Linde Academy: Background. Retrieved August 26, 2017 .
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Coordinates: 50 ° 3 ′ 54 ″  N , 8 ° 16 ′ 27.1 ″  E