This is not just industrial gas. This is industrial gas on the biggest scale. These are prime cuts of oxygen, nitrogen and argon, complemented by a crescent of steam methane reformed hydrogen, a selection of specialty gases & equipment, and related hard goods – currently served with a vignette of mouth-watering M&A activity.
Okay, that might sound like something from a commercial or the latest TV installment of a celebrity chef, but it’s not the worst description of the North American industrial gas market. There’s a ‘garnish’ of hyperbole in there, but there’s no denying that this is still the biggest of the global gas markets.
And it’s certainly a market attracting a great deal of attention at the moment, courtesy of the ongoing Air Products vs Airgas proposition of late if nothing else. Appropriately enough for gasworld’s June issue, Air Products recently extended its unsolicited tender offer to 4th June, so this may yet be the month where all is revealed.
First of all, let’s consider the size of the market and its performance of late. We might be forgiven for thinking that the market has succumbed to a financial contraction of a large scale. While that’s true to a certain extent, it’s also worth making two points.
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