Afrox to delist from the JSE as part of Linde Group acquisition plan

The Linde Group intends to buy the remaining shares of Afrox, after which it plans to delist the company.

African Oxygen (Afrox) is set to leave the JSE after having been listed for 56 years. The Linde Group, Afrox’s German parent, extended an offer to all the holders of Afrox’s shares that it doesn’t already own. The company further announced plans to delist Afrox from the JSE and Namibian Stock Exchange.

Afrox said in a statement that the proposal was precipitated by Linde’s view that the company was more suitable for an unlisted environment. Linde also justified its decision by saying that Afrox’s low share liquidity deterred potential investors and its listing provided little benefit to shareholders.

Linde announced a plan to drive integration between Afrox and Linde group operations which could be more easily achieved in an unlisted environment.

Linde has the support of Afrox shareholders, who hold about 63.5 percent of the shares.
The Afrox leadership team announced in a statement that it has taken note of the Linde Group’s intention to acquire the remaining shares in the company via a local subsidiary, and to pursue a delisting. “The Afrox leadership team wish to assure all stakeholders, business partners and employees that the company remains fully committed to conduct business in the ordinary course, irrespective of the outcome of the offer process, and without any disruption or disturbance to our usual activities.”

A special dividend of R3.82 was proposed. The offer to shareholders in terms of the proposed scheme of arrangement was R21.18 cash per share, which represented a 58.2 percent premium to an adjusted 30-day average price. The share price closed at R17.51 on Friday.

Afrox’s revenue fell to R2.7 billion in the six months to end June from R3 billion at the same time the previous year, while headline earnings per share fell to 76.5 cents per share from 111.3 cents per share in 2019.