MUNICH, May 10 (Reuters) - German industrial gases group Linde expects to complete its planned $70 billion merger of equals with U.S. peer Praxair in 2018 if negotiations are successfully completed, Chief Executive Aldo Belloni told shareholders on Wednesday.
The planned all-share deal has met unexpectedly strong opposition from labour representatives, including trade unionists, and talks to finalise a business combination agreement are taking longer than had been hoped.
"I would like to emphasise that this merger would create value - for everyone involved, especially for you the shareholders," Belloni said in a speech to Linde's annual general meeting in Munich.
"I can assure you that the planned merger also has great support in the Linde workforce." (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan)