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Airgas Buys Welding & Therapy Service

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In order to enhance its product and service offering, Airgas, Inc. (ARG), the supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases as well as hardgoods, has acquired Welding & Therapy Service, Inc. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Welding & Therapy Service distributes industrial and medical gases as well as welding supplies through five locations in Indiana and Kentucky. Its annual revenues exceed $10 million and the company has been serving customers for more than 40 years.

As per the buyout, the locations of Welding & Therapy Service including Louisville, Bedford, Clarksville, Columbus, Princeton and 51 associates will fall under Airgas’ Mid America region. The acquisition became effective on Mar 3, 2014. Notably, the deal will help to better the service and product offering of both the companies.

The acquisition is in line with Airgas’ commitment to bolster growth through the integration of additional businesses. The deal was Airgas' 11th acquisition in the fiscal year ended Mar 31, 2014 with annual revenues of nearly $82 million.

Airgas reported adjusted earnings of $1.18 a share in third-quarter fiscal 2014 (ended Dec 31, 2013), up 13% year over year. The results were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Revenues in the reported quarter rose 3% year over year to $1.24 billion. Acquisitions contributed year-over-year sales growth of 2% in the quarter.

Airgas expects earnings per share in the range of $1.18 to $1.23 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, which will mark an increase of 4%–9% from the prior-year figure. For fiscal 2014, the company expects earnings per share in the range of $4.69 to $4.74, reflecting an 8%–9% year-over-year rise. However, taking the challenging economic conditions into consideration, Airgas stated that it will take longer than expected to reach its annual sales target of $6.5 billion.

Radnor, Pennsylvania-based Airgas, through its subsidiaries, distributes industrial, medical and specialty gases as a well as hardgoods in the U.S. The company also markets its products and services through the Internet as well as catalog and telesales channels.

Airgas currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). However, some better-ranked stocks in the chemical-diversified sector include Northern Technologies International Corp. (NTIC), Akzo Nobel NV (AKZOY) and Compass Minerals International Inc. (CMP). While Northern Technologies sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Akzo Nobel and Compass Minerals have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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