Airgas has announced that it has signed a non-binding letter of agreement to purchase Kanox Inc.

Kanox Inc. is a Kansas-based distributor of packaged gas and welding hardware. Airgas currently own a 25% stake in the company but plan to buy the remaining shares from private shareholders. The companies are working towards signing a definitive purchase agreement and expect to close the deal before September 2005.

Kanox generate annual revenues of around $23 million US dollars. The company is headquartered in Hutchinson, Kansas but operate in nine locations in Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, employing about 120 people.

Commenting on Kanox and its integration, Airgas Chairman and CEO Peter McCausland said, “Kanox has built a strong, multi-state distribution network with roots that go back to its founding in 1946, and we are very excited about the prospects of welcoming Kanox people to our organisation at closing. Three Colorado branches would be integrated with Airgas Intermountain and the remaining six branches would be integrated with Airgas Mid South. Our people in both of these regional companies look forward to working with Kanox on a smooth transition for employees and customers.”

Kanox Chairman and CEO Norman L. Krause added that the deal would be mutually beneficial, “Kanox is very interested in finding an outcome that will work best for our people, our customers, our suppliers and our shareholders. This proposed transaction with Airgas would do just that. Airgas is interested in our people and our locations and we look forward to completing the negotiations and closing the transaction. Until then, I want to emphasise that there will be no interruption in the service Kanox now provides for its customers”.