U.S.-Based Airgas Acquired by France’s Air Liquide
French industrial gas producer Air Liquide has finalized a successful bid to acquire U.S. counterpart Airgas in deal valued at about $10.3 billion.
The deal has already been approved by the boards of both companies, but the acquisition still needs approval from regulators and Airgas shareholders.
Radnor, Pennsylvania-based Airgas will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air Liquide once the companies complete the acquisition and will “strengthen its presence in the largest market worldwide for industrial gases,” according to a company statement.
Air Liquide supplies industrial, medical and specialty gases. It also produces carbon dioxide, dry ice and nitrous oxide, as well as manufacturing other products like welding equipment. The French company already has more than 5,000 employees in the U.S. and generates about $20.4 billion in revenue annually, or about four times as much as Airgas.
The offer from Paris-headquartered firm comes more than four years after Airgas fended off a lengthy takeover bid from another rival, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., which is based in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Air Products abandoned its two-year effort to acquire Airgas bid in February 2011 after a Delaware judge upheld a poison pill plan that Airgas directors relied upon to fend off the hostile bid.
According to a recent research study published by industry analyst Markets and Markets, the global market for industrial gases is estimated to grow from $28 billion in 2015 to $37 billion in 2020 with the metal manufacturing and fabrication segment projected to be the fastest-growing end-use industry in the next five years.
“Furthermore, due to the growth of the metal fabrication industry, gas mixtures such as oxygen mixtures, carbon dioxide mixtures, and hydrogen mixtures are extensively used to enhance the arc characteristics or facilitate metal transfer in gas metal arc welding,” the study said.
In addition, “The gas mixtures market is also projected to witness growth in the medical & healthcare, food & beverage, and chemicals sectors, during the forecast period.”