Praxair Distribution, Inc. has acquired Pasadena, TX-based Welders Industrial Supply, an independent distributor offering industrial and specialty gases, welding equipment, supplies and related services.

Founded in 2009 by Ernest W. ‘Cotton’ Speed III, WIS supplies customers in the greater Houston area, and operates from a newly constructed retail and cylinder filling plant facility in Pasadena. The company has some $4m in annual revenue and 10 employees.

In the same region, Praxair Distribution also recently acquired Houston-based independent distributors Texas Welders Supply Company and National Alloy in December and August 2011, respectively.

“Cotton Speed and his family have a long, successful track record of owning and growing gas distributorships throughout Texas. We look forward to further strengthening our ability to meet customer requirements through his and his team’s in-depth knowledge of the Texas market,” said John Panikar, president of Praxair Distribution.

“Our employees are dedicated to delivering quality products and services to our customers,” said Cotton Speed. “I am confident that combining our business with Praxair will benefit our employees and will enable us to provide an even broader array of products and services to our customers.”

Praxair’s has also recently agreed to acquire Texas Welders Supply Company (TWSCO) and the American Gas Group, a leading supplier of specialty gases worldwide.

American Gas Group, a leading specialty gases supplier worldwide, became part of Praxair Distribution mid-December, 2011.

Comprising Specialty Gases of America, Inc., American Specialty Gases Inc., Semiconductor Resources, Inc. and Specialty Gases of America, LLC, the business includes facilities in Toledo, Ohio and Wheeling Illinois. It has 56 employees and annual sales of $28m.

AGG is one of the largest independent specialty gas producers in North America, packaging a variety of specialty gases including EPA Protocols, hydrocarbons, VOC mixtures, reactive mixtures, high-purity chemicals and research-grade gases in addition to industrial and medical gas products.

Financial terms of the transaction were not been disclosed. John Armelagos, one of the owners of AGG prior to the sale to Praxair, said, “Praxair is a perfect fit for our company and our two organizations complement each other. We have been working for several years to put this deal together. The tragic and untimely death of Ron Corns, AGG’s CEO, is a great loss for all of us. Ron was instrumental in developing and fostering the relationship with Praxair and was excited by the vision of what our two organizations could achieve together. We will greatly miss his leadership.” (See p. 59 of this issue for obituary).

“The addition of AGG to the Praxair network strengthens our Midwest specialty gas production capabilities and provides an important channel to support our distributor network,” Panikar. “AGG has a world class facility, capable people and an extensive product offering to support growth. We are excited to have the American Gas Group employees on the Praxair team and look forward to sharing technology and best practices.”

Praxair TWSCO acquisition complete

Praxair Distribution, Inc. finalized its acquision of Texas Welders Supply Company (TWSCO), also in Texas, as 2011 drew to a close.

TWSCO, a long-time Praxair distributor, is the largest independent gas and welding products distributor in the greater Houston area with projected 2011 sales of $56 million and 130 employees. TWSCO operates from four locations, including a state-of-the-art cylinder filling plant and specialty gas laboratory located in north Houston. The company was formed in 1983 and is majority-owned and controlled by the founding Chenoweth family.

“The Chenoweths have a multi-generational history of building successful industrial gas distributorships in Houston,” said Panikar. “TWSCO represents the culmination of their efforts and is one of the top 15 independent distributors in the country. It has a world class facility and talented people to support growth. We are excited to have the TWSCO employees join the Praxair team and look forward to serving our new customers.”

“Praxair is the best operational and strategic fit for us,” said TWSCO president Scott Chenoweth, one of the three majority shareholders. “Our dedicated employees have delivered quality products and services with complete confidence and customer satisfaction, and combining our business with Praxair will continue to benefit our customers and employees.”

PDI has a growing packaged gases presence in the Houston area, having acquired another independent distributor, National Alloy, in August 2011.

“TWSCO’s sales, technical support and related services are directed primarily to the energy sector, which, combined with Praxair’s broader presence serving global refinery and petrochemical customers along the Gulf Coast with pipeline and bulk liquid gases, expands Praxair’s capabilities to supply industrial and specialty gases, equipment and services to these customers,” added Panikar.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.