Airgas yesterday announced the completion of its fifth acquisition of fiscal 2005. The company has acquired the assets and operations of Associated Welding Products, Inc., (AWP), an industrial gas and welding supply distributor.

AWP’s location in Portland, Oregano, which generated more than two million dollars in sales in 2004, will be integrated into Airgas Nor Pac, which is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington.

Mark Clemens, president of Airgas Nor Pac, said: \\$quot;Barry Feasey, who founded AWP more than 20 years ago, has built a strong, customer-focused operation that we are pleased to welcome to our organisation.

\\$quot;This added location will help us serve a growing customer base in the Greater Portland area.\\$quot;

Airgas Chairman and CEO Peter McCausland, added: \\$quot;We continue to see a full pipeline of acquisition opportunities. So far this year, we have completed four acquisitions of independent distributors that have added to our core business, as well as a product line acquisition, for total acquired sales of about $100 million. Acquisitions will remain an integral part of our growth plans.\\$quot;

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