FRANKFURT The chairman of German industrial gases group Linde said U.S. rival Praxair would still be the best partner for it but he did not foresee that merger talks would immediately resume after Linde's two top executives quit.
"This question does not arise at the moment," Wolfgang Reitzle told German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview published on Wednesday, when asked whether there would be a new run at the talks, aimed at creating a $60 billion (45.37 billion pounds) global industry leader.
Linde said on Tuesday its chief executive and finance chief would quit after the merger talks fell apart, leaving Reitzle as the most powerful man at Linde and raising the prospect that the talks could be revived.
Asked about the possibility of merging with Air Products instead, Reitzle said: "That is a completely different business model. Praxair would be the best partner for us."
Reitzle said conflict between the two top executives had hindered the merger talks. "When there is no team spirit in the management, this can block decisions."
He added that opposition from Linde's labour representatives to moving key functions to the United States had also played "a certain role" in the talks' collapse.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan)