United States, the new dimension
Through the acquisition of Airgas in May 2016, Air Liquide has become the leader on the market for industrial gases in North America and has strengthened its presence in the United States, the leading global market for industrial gases. This transaction also enables Air Liquide to strengthen its leadership by rebalancing its European and American positions. Together, Air Liquide and Airgas will offer services that create even more value.
ACQUISITION OF AIRGAS: A STRONG INDUSTRIAL AND MARKET LOGIC
As the main supplier of industrial gases and related products and services in the US, Airgas has allowed the Group to extend its customer base by more than one million and benefit from a presence over the entire American territory. Furthermore, Airgas has the most developed multi-channel distribution network in the United States and its offers ideally complement those of the Industrial Merchant business line of the Group. There are many synergies, mainly industrial, between Airgas and Air Liquide. They are estimated at more than 300 million US dollars and the majority will be achieved within the next two to three years.
DIVERSIFIED ACTIVITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
Air Liquide has developed its main businesses in the United States. Since the acquisition of Airgas, Air Liquide relies on more than 20,000 employees in the United States at the service of customers in many industries such as food-processing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, automotive, electronics, aerospace, healthcare, etc.
The United States is a territory with high potential, notably due to three major trends, identified by the Group as sources of growth. In fact, in this country that is the leading global producer of oil and natural gas, Air Liquide brings its expertise and solutions to meet the challenge of energy and climate transition: hydrogen to purify fuels but also as energy vector. The partnership formed in 2014 with Toyota for the rollout of an infrastructure of hydrogen charging stations for clean mobility in the north-east of the United States is an illustration of this. In the area of Health, Air Liquide supplies hospitals and healthcare institutions with medical and therapeutic gases, but also hygiene products. Through its subsidiary, SEPPIC, which produces specialty ingredients, the Group can also meet the growing demand of the cosmetics sector. Lastly, Air Liquide actively participates in the digital transformation: the acquisition of Airgas is fully consistent with this approach as it brings solid expertise in the fields of e-commerce and telesales capabilities.
To meet these challenges, more than ever the Group places innovation at the heart of its strategy. To stay competitive, it is essential to redesign and improve products and processes to offer customers an always greater experience and quality of service. To do this, the Group can rely on its cutting-edge Research and Technology Centre in Delaware, where more than 100 scientists work in areas as varied as bioresources, oxycombustion, membranes and hydrogen fuel cells.
"The acquisition of Airgas brings us a new dimension. The new Group benefits from the great operational experience of Air Liquide in the United States and from the unmatched national presence of Airgas serving more than one million customers."
Michael J. Graff, Member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee and Executive Vice-President of the Houston Hub, Vice Chairman of the Board of Airgas