Airgas Inc. today announced it has acquired Merriam-Graves Corporation, an independent distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and related supplies operating in 25 locations in New England and New York, effective as of 1st February 2008.

The acquired business generated $47m in revenues in 2007 and these operations have been integrated into Airgas East, one of the regional companies within the Airgas umbrella. Airgas East will transition Merriam-Graves in an orderly process over the next few months, while the acquired operations include a headquarters, industrial fill plant, specialty gas laboratory, and central hardgoods warehouse in Charlestown, plus 6 other locations in New Hampshire, 6 locations in Vermont, 5 locations in Massachusetts, 5 locations in Connecticut, and a further 2 in New York.

“We are excited to welcome Scott and Kit Wakeman, and all 225 Merriam-Graves associates to the Airgas team,” said Fred Manley, President of Airgas East.

“They will find that their experience and entrepreneurial spirit will fit well with the Airgas culture. The added locations fill in our own network and help us serve customers in New England and New York more effectively.”

Airgas East, headquartered in Salem, includes 86 retail branches, 40 cylinder fill plants, and 11 ISO 9000 series certified specialty gas laboratories, with more than 1,100 associates serving customers in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and northern Virginia.

Merriam-Graves traces its roots to the G.L. Merriam Company founded in 1924 and R.S. Graves Company founded in 1925. The 2 firms merged in 1962 and in 1966, Merriam-Graves Corporation was purchased by Henry K. Wakeman, Jr. Since then, it has grown from 2 locations to its present size and Scott Wakeman joined the family business in 1980, serving as its CEO. Another son, Kit, joined in 1988 and served as President.

Speaking of the newly announced acquisition, Scott Wakeman commented, “Kit and I are excited to join Airgas and believe this transition offers the best opportunities to our talented staff and our loyal customers. I want to thank all of our employees for their untiring support over the years. Now, as part of the Airgas family of companies, we will be able to offer our customers an even greater array of products and services as we continue to provide solution-oriented customer service.”