Carbon dioxide and the US distributor network


For those who have been in the gases business for some years now, it is a fact of life that ever-fewer independent carbon dioxide (CO2) and gases distributors exist today than years ago; or for that matter much fewer than decades ago.

Airgas has been on a buying binge for decades, consolidating the gas distributors significantly; along with other buyers including Praxair, Inc. The gases industry, at large, continues to consolidate, as noticed currently by the mother of all consolidations with the Praxair-Linde merger. Of course, this will precipitate divestments in the industry, which will in turn bring forward possibly new regional players operating in a lesser capacity going forward, along with private equity firms to invest in the business. Operators such as Messer and Taiyo Nippon Sanso (TNSC) may move into new, enhanced or returning markets. 

As to CO2 per se, before MATHESON (a TNSC company) acquired Continental Carbonic, Continental was the largest independent distributor and producer of dry ice, as well as producing and marketing liquid CO2. As for producers and distributors of CO2, there are very few independents in the business which are also producers, such as Reliant Holdings Ltd. Roberts Oxygen and Norco are significant regional distributors of CO2, however they are not actual producers. There are regional independent dry ice producers, and re-packagers of CO2 such as American Carbonation, headquartered in New England, which sell liquid and press dry ice from the liquid purchased.

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