Linde's chief executive has been quoted as saying the German industrial gases and forklifts group is not in merger talks with British gas manufacturer BOC.
According to Reuters News, Wolfgang Reitzle told German business monthly Manager Magazin
that Linde and BOC did have talks but only because of their strategic partnership in engineering.
"BOC has a higher market capitalisation than us. If I were to serve up Linde on a silver platter, would I then be a successful manager?" he said.
Rumours of a Linde and BOC merger have surfaced from time to time and Linde shares climbed last month on renewed speculation that it could be bought or broken up by rivals (Forkliftaction.com News #222
Reitzle said he did not see any point in selling the forklift division and just focusing on gases, a favourite speculation of analysts and investors.
"We would still only be number five in gases. Linde ... would shrink to a size where it would be possible to swallow it like an easily digestible morsel," he said.