November 23, 2016 / 4:25 PM / 2 years ago

Linde in talks with HNA about logistics unit Gist: sources

Linde Group logo is seen at a company building in Munich-Pullach, Germany August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany’s Linde LING.DE is in talks with China’s acquisitive transportation and leisure giant HNA Group over its temperature-controlled logistics unit Gist, two people close to the matter said.

Linde said last month that it considered Gist a non-core asset and would sell it if anyone offered a good price for it.

HNA’s logistics arm includes a cold chain system logistics unit, which it could beef up with Gist, the people said, adding that no deal is certain yet and that one other Asian group remains interested in Gist.

Gist delivers cooled food and beverages mainly in the United Kingdom and counts British retailer Marks and Spencer (MKS.L) as a key customer. It may reap a price of about 400 million pounds ($495 million), one of the sources said.

Linde declined to comment while HNA was not immediately available for comment.

HNA has snapped up several assets over the last couple of months including Swiss airline catering firm Gategroup as well as a stake in hotel group Hilton.

Linde’s planned divestment is unrelated to its failed plan to merge with peer Praxair, which was scrapped last month over issues such as headquarters and key personnel, the people said.

Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Tina Bellon

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