Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), today announced plans to expand its atmospheric gas production capacity in New England by building a second air separation unit (ASU) in Bozrah, CT in order to meet the expected increase in demand for merchant gases across its diverse customer base in the region. The ASU, which will produce oxygen, nitrogen, and argon, will be operated by Airgas Merchant Gases and is expected to begin production in the fall of 2015. “The market for atmospheric gases is expected to continue to grow in New England, particularly in the medical, laboratory, high-tech and food industries,” said Michael L. Molinini, Airgas President and Chief Executive Officer. “Now is the right time to add to our production capabilities in order to meet the growing merchant gas needs of our current and future customers in the region.” As one of the nation's leading suppliers of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, Airgas currently produces oxygen, nitrogen, and argon through its 16 air separation units nationwide, making it the fifth largest producer of atmospheric gases in North America. The Company’s proposed plant in Bozrah will produce more than 600 tons per day of oxygen, nitrogen, and argon and will bring Airgas’ total capacity at the site to over 1,600 tons per day. The Company also purchases atmospheric gases under long-term supply contracts with other producers. “We will operate the new plant alongside our existing one in Bozrah,” said Tom Thoman, Airgas Division President – Gases Production. “This will not only substantially increase our presence in the region but also enhance the security of our supply by having dual production facilities.” According to Thoman, Airgas Merchant Gases commissioned Airgas' newest ASU in Clarksville, TN, which began producing atmospheric gases in May 2012 and is building a new ASU in Minooka, IL, which is set to be on-stream in the summer of 2015.