Posted May 23, 2016

Air Liquide finalizes Airgas acquisition

Air Liquide announced that it has completed the acquisition of Airgas Inc. 

Globally, the combined businesses will generate annual sales of more than €20 billion (more than $22 billion at current exchange rates), employ approximately 68,000 people around the world, and serve well over three million customers and patients.

Benoît Potier, chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, said: “We are very pleased to have successfully closed our acquisition of Airgas, which will contribute to our strategy of profitable growth over the long term. There is strong industrial and market logic to this acquisition, which ideally positions Air Liquide for future growth. The two businesses are highly complementary, and the transaction extends our customer base through a unique, multi-channel distribution network and a nationwide presence in the U.S. Since founding Airgas some 30 years ago, Peter McCausland has successfully grown the business into one of the premier industrial gas companies in the U.S., and I would like to thank him for his leadership, dedication and achievements. This transaction represents significant value potential for all Air Liquide stakeholders, and it is an exciting day for the Group as we welcome our Airgas colleagues and together begin a new chapter in our history.”

Peter McCausland, executive chairman of Airgas, retired upon closing of the transaction.

“Today’s history-making transaction is the culmination of more than 30 years of growth and value that we have steadfastly delivered to Airgas shareholders – it is a proud moment," McCausland said. "The future is very bright for Airgas’ more than one million customers and our talented employees as we join Air Liquide’s unrivalled global footprint and strength in technology and innovation, while remaining committed to Airgas’ product offering, service model, and entrepreneurial culture. Thank you to our customers, shareholders, and associates for believing in the Airgas vision, just as I have, for all of these years.”

Pierre Dufour, senior executive vice-president and board director of Air Liquide, has been appointed chairman of the board of Airgas.

Michael Graff, member of the Air Liquide Group’s executive committee and executive vice president of the Houston Hub, has been appointed vice chairman of the board of Airgas.

Pascal Vinet, member of the Air Liquide Group’s executive committee, will be appointed CEO of Airgas, after a brief, post-closing transition phase. During this transition phase, Michael Molinini will continue with his current responsibilities, serving as Interim CEO of Airgas, and he will retire later this year.

Andrew Cichocki has been promoted to the role of chief operating officer of Airgas, where his responsibilities will include direct oversight of the combined companies’ Industrial Merchant and Healthcare activities in the U.S., which are being consolidated under Airgas.