Air Liquide initiated with an Outperform at Bernstein. Bernstein analyst Gunther Zechmann started Air Liquide with an Outperform rating. The analyst says Air Liquide is his top pick in Industrial Chemicals, and believes it should benefit from comparable revenue growth, 16% EPS CAGR to 2020 as synergies overdeliver, and 300bps ROCE improvement to greater than 10% by 2020.
Carlyle Group (CG) is being sued over claims that it induced a senior businessman to steal secret documents from one of France's largest industrial companies, the Financial Times reports. A federal lawsuit in the U.S. claims that the buyout group offered payments to Leslie Graff, at the time Air Liquide's (AIQUY) VP of M&A in the Americas, in an effort to gain an illegal edge in the race to purchase billions of dollars worth of assets from rival industrial gas companies, the report says. The allegations have cast uncertainty over an auction of U.S. businesses that Linde (LNEGY) and Praxair (PX) are divesting as a result of their proposed EUR70B tie-up, the report notes. Carlyle was set to buy the assets for about $3B, but CVC was also in close pursuit of the assets, along with Messer, the report says, citing a person familiar with the matter. Reference Link
Air Liquide (AIQUY) signed a new long-term agreement with LyondellBasell (LYB) to supply oxygen to LyondellBasell's new large-scale petrochemical plant which will be constructed in Channelview, Texas. LyondellBasell's new propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol plant, or PO/TBA, is expected to be the largest of its kind plant in the world when completed. The oxygen provided by Air Liquide will be sourced from its Gulf Coast Pipeline System, part of the largest industrial gas pipeline system in the world, which spans more than 2,000 miles along the coasts of southeast Texas and Louisiana. LyondellBasell's $2.4B PO/TBA project is part of its announced organic growth program. The PO/TBA portion of this investment is designed to meet rising global demand for both urethanes and cleaner-burning oxyfuels. The construction of LyondellBasell's new PO/TBA plant is expected to begin in the second half of 2018 and be completed in 2021.
Air Liquide upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies. Jefferies analyst Laurence Alexander upgraded Air Products to Buy and raised his price target for the shares to EUR 137 from EUR 114. The analyst believes the industrial gases are positioned for a "classic late-cycle trade" amid improving industrial demand and a turn in the capex cycle.
Air Liquide upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS. UBS analyst Andrew Stott upgraded Air Liquide to Neutral with an increased price target of EUR 108 saying fundamentals look "moderately brighter" for 2018.