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Airgas to Buy Bulk Gas Assets

It pays $495 for Linde's U.S. business.



, a distributor of specialty gases and welding products, said Wednesday that it agreed to acquire the U.S. bulk gas business of

Linde AG

for $495 million in cash.

Linde is required to divest the assets under conditions imposed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for approval of its acquisition of

BOC Group

(BOX) - Get Free Report

, which was completed on Sept. 5.

The Radnor, Pa.-based company expects the acquisition to be accretive to EPS in the first 12 months.

Under terms of the agreement, Airgas will acquire bulk gas business and eight air seperation units located in Canton and Dayton, Ohio; Madison and Waukesha, Wis.; Carrolton and Jefferson, Ga.; Bozrah, Conn.; and Rock Hill, S.C.

The company said that the acquired ASUs will be managed as a part of its new business unit, Airgas Merchant gases, which will eventually manage existing Airgas ASUs and the planned one in Carrollton, Ky.

"This transaction will be positive for our associates, our customers, and our shareholders. It comes at a time when Airgas continues to see strong organic growth and good internal momentum," the company said. "The addition of these bulk gas production operations will enhance our ability to support future growth."

The bulk business, which has about 300 employees, generated $154 million in revenues in the year ended Dec. 31, 2005. For the nine-month ended Sept. 30, it posted a revenue of $126 million.

The company's shares were up $1.59 to $41.57.

This story was created through a joint venture between and IRIS.