Airgas, Inc. has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Great Lakes Oxygen, which also trades as Welder’s Supply, Westside Welders Supply, Great Lakes Propane, and Lake Erie Iron and Metal.

The transaction is effective at the close of business on 31st December 2008 and becomes the latest in an impressive portfolio of recent acquisitions.

Since the beginning of its fiscal year in April 2008, Airgas has completed 13 transactions with acquired annual revenues in excess of $200m.

Great Lakes Oxygen, a distributor of industrial gas and welding supplies, was formed in 1982 and generates annual revenues in excess of $15m through locations in Cleveland, Painesville and Brook Park, Ohio.

Facilities include retail showrooms, warehouses, fill plants, a specialty gas laboratory and an acetylene plant.

Kevin McBride, Airgas Great Lakes President, explained the motivation behind the deal as he said, “Throughout their history, Great Lakes Oxygen has enjoyed a reputation for outstanding customer service.”

“This transaction adds great resources and talent to Airgas Great Lakes, and allows us to offer a broader array of products and services to an expanded base of valued customers. We are pleased to welcome all 50 Great Lakes Oxygen associates to Airgas.”

Marty Hathy, Great Lakes Oxygen President and Co-Owner (who now joins Airgas), added, “I want to thank the loyal and talented Great Lakes Oxygen employees for their years of dedicated service. In joining the Airgas team, our employees will have even greater opportunities to grow and our customers will benefit from all the resources of the industry leader.”