There are few subjects that have impacted the industrial gas industry in the United States over the past 25 years more than mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Not only has M&A activity impacted the players involved in the industry, but it also has reshaped the structure of the supply chain for how gases are produced and distributed to end user customers.
Consider that in 1990, the major players in the US market included BOC, Air Liquide, Air Products, Messer, AGA, and Praxair (known still in 1990 as the Linde Division of Union Carbide Company), each of which had both production (on-site/bulk merchant gas) and distribution (packaged gas) segments of their business. Airgas, Matheson, Valley National Gases, and several thousand privately owned (i.e. independent) businesses focused almost exclusively on the packaged gas segment of the market. Linde AG had very little presence in the US and there were no major players whose business was focused exclusively on the production segment of the market.
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