Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX), one of the largest industrial gases companies worldwide, and Memphis-based nexAir LLC, one of the largest distributors of atmospheric gases and welding supplies in the United States, announced plans to form a joint venture in the Southeast United States. According to the terms of the joint venture, Praxair will contribute 8 branches of its packaged gas distribution business in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee and acquire an equity stake in the combined business, which will have sales of approximately $150 million. “Developing a closer relationship with nexAir allows both companies to expand into new areas that will benefit from our combined capabilities,” said John Panikar, president of Praxair Distribution, Inc., the packaged gas subsidiary of Praxair, Inc. “Praxair is making major investments in Memphis and the broader southeast region. Our investment in nexAir is an expression of our confidence in our ability to grow faster together.” “nexAir has been a successful packaged gas distributor in this region and their growth and success have helped our industrial gases business tremendously. Together we will have a stronger support network and broader set of services for customers in the region,” added Panikar. “We have worked with Praxair for 72 years and we are confident this expansion of that relationship will mean future opportunities for all involved,” said Kevin McEniry, nexAir CEO. “nexAir’s primary goal has always been to offer opportunities for our people by increasing our ability to compete and grow profitably, and we believe this formal partnership aligns perfectly with that goal.” “Our family is proud to have built nexAir into a successful company that can expand profitably and offer employees continued opportunities for growth,” said Kevin McEniry. “There will be no changes to the nexAir leadership team, our culture or to how we conduct business day-to-day. nexAir will continue to be nexAir."