Airgas, Inc. has completed another key distributor acquisition as the year approaches its conclusion, with the purchase of Oklahoma-based Fitch Industrial & Welding Supply (Fitch).
Fitch is an industrial gas and welding supply distributor with three locations in Oklahoma and one in Wichita Falls, Texas. The Lawton-based business employs 39 people and generated more than $10m in revenue during calendar 2008.
The deal comes just days after Airgas completed the acquisition of the assets of Florida’s Tri-Tech, a fellow distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases and related supplies.
Now, the company has followed this up with the deal for Fitch, which will see the Oklahoma branches integrated into Airgas Mid-South (headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma) while the Wichita Falls branch has been integrated into Airgas Southwest, headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Airgas Mid South and Airgas Southwest are among 12 regional companies within Airgas’ distribution business.
“Fitch has a strong reputation in the area, and long-standing relationships with their customers,” explained Max Hooper, Airgas Western Division President.
“We are excited to welcome the Fitch employees to Airgas, and to provide our new customers with access to the most complete offering of products and services in the industry.”
Fitch itself boasts nearly 60 years of operation after its founding in 1950 by Carl Fitch. Carl’s son Fred joined the company in 1970, soon thereafter assuming his current role as president and owner.
He said of the deal, “It has been a true pleasure to build this business over the years, and to serve the outstanding business community in and around Lawton. I wanted to be sure that our Fitch employees and customers had the best future possible, so it made perfect sense to join Airgas, the nation’s premier industrial gas company.”
Less Graff, Airgas Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, added, “Fred Fitch has been an industry leader for years, not only in running his company but also in holding significant management roles, including past president, in the industry association GAWDA.”
“We are very pleased Fred chose to join forces with Airgas, as we remain committed to strengthening our platform by investing in quality businesses.”