Praxair, Inc. and Memphis-based nexAir LLC, one of the largest distributors of atmospheric gases and welding supplies in the US, have announced plans to form a joint venture (JV) in the Southeast US.

Under the JV, Praxair will contribute eight branches of its packaged gas distribution business in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

Praxair will also acquire an equity stake in the combined business, which will have sales of approximately $150m.

Both companies appear to see the benefits of bringing their capabilities together into one venture – and the future opportunities this could entail.

“Developing a closer relationship with nexAir allows both companies to expand into new areas that will benefit from our combined capabilities,” said John Panikar, President of Praxair Distribution, Inc., the packaged gas subsidiary of Praxair, Inc.

“Praxair is making major investments in Memphis and the broader southeast region. Our investment in nexAir is an expression of our confidence in our ability to grow faster together.”

“nexAir has been a successful packaged gas distributor in this region and their growth and success have helped our industrial gases business tremendously. Together we will have a stronger support network and broader set of services for customers in the region,” added Panikar.

Kevin McEniry, nexAir CEO, said of the agreement, “We have worked with Praxair for 72 years and we are confident this expansion of that relationship will mean future opportunities for all involved.”

“nexAir’s primary goal has always been to offer opportunities for our people by increasing our ability to compete and grow profitably, and we believe this formal partnership aligns perfectly with that goal.”