Industrial Merchant: undergoing transformation

Industrial Merchant is one of Air Liquide’s core activities. Since the acquisition of Airgas, the business accounts for almost 45% of the Gas & Services revenue. Industrial Merchant supplies gas, application technologies, equipment and services to a large range of customers from professionals to multinationals in 20 sectors of industry. Explanations provided by Olivier Blachier, Vice President of Industrial Merchant.

Three questions to Olivier Blachier, Vice President of Industrial Merchant

How will the acquisition of Airgas impact on the business line?
Airgas is the US leader in packaged gases and associated products. The acquisition which took place last May has a highly positive impact on Industrial Merchant because it involves a real change in scale. It strengthens the geographical coverage in the US, and we are now the market leader in the world’s biggest gas market. We have more sales opportunities in each of our 20 market segments and our customer portfolio has doubled to reach two million throughout the world. Lastly Airgas brings us the expertise of its multi-channel distribution network, particularly through e-commerce and remote sales, along with an expanded product range.

What transformation is Industrial Merchant undergoing?
The priority for the 37,000 employees is to place even more emphasis on customer satisfaction. We are going to intensify our activities in the most promising locations and markets and capitalize on our offers of value-added gases and on Airgas’ expertise in terms of local distribution and customer relations. We will continue in parallel to innovate so we can provide our customers with solutions that are even better suited to their requirements in terms of competitiveness and regulatory compliance, particularly over the environmental issues. Our ambition? We want to offer our customers a simple and more reliable experience that provides them with Air Liquide’s expertise and innovations at every stage.

How does the digital transformation help Industrial Merchant?
Digital is a tremendous lever because it allows us to optimize our supply chain, run our logistics in real time, and simplify and diversify access to our offers. Also thanks to Digital we are able to offer our customers connected products and more suitable and flexible services to improve their performance. There are many highly promising opportunities on the horizon.

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