Air Liquide to Acquire Airgas: Highly Complementary Combination to Deliver Greater Value, Service & Innovation

January 5, 2016

In November, Air Liquide (Euronext Paris: AI), world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health, agreed to acquire Airgas, (NYSE: ARG), one of the leading suppliers of industrial gases and associated products and services in the U.S. In the transaction, Airgas will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air Liquide. Airgas Refrigerants, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airgas, will become part of Air Liquide when the transaction is finalized.

Here are highlights from the press release:

  • Air Liquide to acquire U.S.-based Airgas for a total enterprise value of $13.4 billion
  • This is a game-changing combination that strengthens Air Liquide’s global leadership with #1 position in North America, complementing its #1 positions in Europe, Africa / Middle East and Asia-Pacific, and provides new opportunities to Airgas customers
  • Air Liquide is ideally positioned for future growth with a stronger presence in the U.S., the largest industrial gases market in the world
  • The combined company will deliver greater value, service and innovation to customers in North America and around the world

Rationale
Combining Air Liquide and Airgas will bring together two highly complementary businesses to deliver greater value, service and innovation to customers in North America and around the world. In the U.S., Airgas’ leadership in the packaged gases business and associated products and services and Air Liquide’s strong footprint in complementary activities will increase the scope and competitiveness of the combined companies; product offering.

The combination builds on Air Liquide’s longstanding track record of successfully operating in the U.S. and will benefit from Airgas’ unmatched national presence and its more than 1 million customers in the U.S., as well as from its leading customer-facing platform including e-commerce and telesales capabilities. The combined entity will be able to better serve customers with the most advanced multi-distribution networks in the U.S. and more competitive product offerings thanks to an integrated upstream-downstream model.

Upon completion of the acquisition, the combined company will be the leader in North America, complementing number one positions in Europe, Africa/Middle East and Asia-Pacific. It will also be number one in Industrial Merchant and Large Industries, and co-number one in Electronics, worldwide. The combined company will continue to implement an innovation strategy that combines scientific expertise, industry-leading technology and customer insight to bring new products and services to market. It will also improve existing offerings and open new markets, in particular by leveraging digital technologies.

In addition, this combination will create new opportunities for employees as part of a leading global organization that is ideally positioned for growth.

Timing and Conditions
The transaction has been unanimously approved by each of Airgas’ and Air Liquide’s boards of directors and is subject to Airgas shareholders’ approval, receipt of necessary antitrust and other regulatory approvals and other customary conditions and provisions. The official press release and other information here.