AIRGAS announced today that it has agreed to acquire the assets and operations of Airtec, an industrial gas and welding supply distributor with six locations in Wisconsin and one in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Altoona, Wisconsin-based business, which generated around $13 million in annual sales in 2005 and employs about 60 people, will be integrated into Airgas North Central, one of Airgas' 13 regional companies.

'The Airtec operations will add to our service capabilities, strengthen our presence in Eau Claire, Wausau and Fond du Lac, and add new branch locations in Hudson, Sheboygan, North Milwaukee, and Minneapolis,' said Ron Stark, president of Airgas North Central, which is headquartered in West Chicago.

'I am pleased to reach this agreement with Airgas,' said Chip Lewis, chief executive officer of Airtec, who intends to remain with other enterprises in the area. 'Airtec will work closely with Airgas in the coming weeks to make this a smooth transition for our people and customers.'

The acquisition is expected to close by 1 April 2006, subject to customary closing conditions.

The financial terms of the deal were not available.