During a telephone conference, barely hours ago, John McGlade, Air Products Chairman, President and CEO, reiterated that the company was “done” with its attempt to purchase outstanding Airgas, Inc. shares.
Moreover, Air Products plans to sell its shares and move forward with global growth.
In an unequivocal statement, McGlade said, “Let me get right to the point. Based on the Delaware Chancery Court Ruling, we have withdrawn our offer for Airgas and we’re moving on. We will not appeal this decision.”
“This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as we’ve been disciplined in our approach and clear in our position from the start. We made a best and final offer of $70 per share and the Airgas board still will not let the Airgas shareholders decide for themselves whether they wanted to accept that offer.”
McGlade added, “Despite the public statements of the Airgas board, we are convinced they are unwilling to sell the company at any price; we believe the Airgas board has done a great disservice to the Airgas shareholders. We also made it clear from the beginning that we wouldn’t over-pay for Airgas and would always act in the best interest of our shareholders. We have kept our word we are unwilling to ask the Air Products shareholders to wait any longer.”
McGlade went on to highlight that the acquisition was, “never a must for us”. Indeed, the Chairman’s firm attitude was reiterated by Paul Huck, Chief Financial Officer for the company.
Huck described, “It is unfortunate we could not get this deal over the finish line. It was a good deal for shareholders and there was never any question as to the strategic and industrial logic of this combination. All along we’ve been very clear that we saw value for Air Products shareholders in pursuing Airgas, but the opportunity was only worth so much.$quot;
$quot;We were going to be disciplined buyers and we were never going to overpay. This chapter is now closed and we are moving on. We have withdrawn our offer and will sell our Airgas shares,$quot; continued Huck.
Disappointed, but not put-off
Despite the unexpected news, Paul Huck was keen to highlight Air Products' exciting prospects and emphasised the opportunities that lay elsewhere. $quot;While we are disappointed, we have great opportunities ahead and we are excited about them. We have strong quarter one results and our execution remains at a high level. We are on track for our 2011 goal of 17% margin and double digit earning per share growth and remain focused for creating value for shareholders.$quot;
$quot;To that end we have continued to invest in growth opportunities throughout this process. In fact last year we invested US$ 1.3bn and this year we will invest US$ 1.5-1.7bn globally,$quot; concluded Huck.
Huck was not alone in his positive attitude. McGlade also spoke with conviction about the firm's future. “Air Products is a great company with many opportunities available to us to create substantial and additional value for shareholders going forward,$quot; closed McGlade.