Meritus Grows Gas Distribution, Marks Three Acquisitions - Modern Distribution Management

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Meritus Grows Gas Distribution, Marks Three Acquisitions

So far in 2024, Meritus Gas Partners acquired two independent industrial gas and welding supply distributors and partnered with two others.

Gas distributor Meritus Gas Partners has continued to grow its network this year, completing acquisitions it has had in its pipeline.

So far in 2024, Meritus acquired two industrial gas and welding supply distributors in South Dakota, and partnered with two packaged gas and welding supply distributors in California and Texas.

A-OX and A&B Join Meritus Gas Partners

In March, Meritus acquired Sioux Falls, SD-based A-OX Welding Supply Co. and Rapid City, SD-based A&B Welding Supply Co., independent distributors of industrial, specialty and medical gases, and welding and safety supplies, with eight combined locations in North and South Dakota and Iowa.

Before the acquisition, A-OX and A&B made significant investments in their gas capabilities, including the construction of a state-of-the-art packaged gas filling facility in Sioux Falls. The plant can produce a broad spectrum of specialty gases and supplies independent distributors throughout the U.S. with specialty gas products on a wholesale basis.

“Our businesses are thriving and growing, yet we are also facing business challenges like other industrial gas distributors – customer consolidation, hyperinflation with respect to our product and operating costs, and increasing regulatory complexities,” A&B President Micahel Elliott said in a March 11 news release. “As a member of Meritus, we will be a part of a larger organization which will help us accelerate our growth as well as navigate the challenges we face. We will work with our partners at Meritus to share best practices, leverage buying relationships and exchange growth ideas.”

Meritus Partners with Advanced Gases

On March 18, Meritus announced a partnership with Sacramento, CA-based Advanced Gases & Equipment.

The independent distributor of packaged gases and welding supplies serves the greater Sacramento area from three facilities: its gas production and distribution facility and retail store in West Sacramento, CA and retail stores in Placerville, CA and Jackson, CA.

The company’s diverse customer base represents various industries, including metal fabrication, construction, wineries and agriculture.

“Advanced Gases furthers our strategy to expand our presence in the West and provides Meritus with another building block upon which to build a diverse industrial gas business in Northern California,” Meritus officials said in a news release.

Owner and President Mike Hamilton continues to lead the business and maintain equity ownership in Meritus.

“Following the unfortunate death of my partner in 2023, I was unexpectedly forced to make a decision about the future of the business,” Hamilton said. “I considered continuing to operate the business as the sole owner, selling the business outright to a strategic acquirer, or partnering with Meritus. We elected to proceed with Meritus to preserve our company’s brand and legacy and to be a member of a larger, more diversified business. We are excited to be joining Meritus and look forward to utilizing Meritus’ resources and expertise to accelerate our growth and better serve our customers in the region.”

Meritus Gas Adds Airco Gases

Meritus Gas entered into a partnership with Dallas-based Airco Gases Southwest.

Founded in 2020 with the acquisition of two well-established independent distributors in Texas, Welders Warehouse and Allied Welding Supply, Airco has grown through organic efforts and further acquisitions to become a leading independent distributor of packaged gases and welding supplies servicing the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region, company officials said in a Jan. 11 news release. The company’s customer base represents various industries, including metal fabrication, construction, healthcare and food and beverage.

“Airco was created as the platform to acquire high performing industrial gas businesses, principally operating in North Texas,” said founder Marvin Rodgers III. “We targeted owners who wished to co-invest and remain engaged in their businesses to perpetuate the customer centric values so core to their operations. We have been successful in building our business consistent with this vision, but we identified an opportunity with Meritus, whose model mirrors ours, to build a business on a national scale. They are first-class and have taken this model to a level we could not achieve on our own.”

Meritus operating company Mitchell Welding Supply is already operating in the stretch of East Texas between the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Shreveport, LA.

“Airco augments Mitchell’s footprint to the west and furthers our growth plans to become the leading independent distributor in the region,” officials said.

Meritus — listed on MDM’s 2023 Top Gases/Welding Equipment Distributors List — has been aiming to expand its network, and isn’t showing sign of slowing down. Officials told  industrial gas news site Gas World in January that the company has “nearly a dozen” deals under some stage of evaluation.

“We are committed to allowing [independent gas distributors] to remain independent and entrepreneurial, preserving their culture and brand, but we also support them to hopefully turbocharge their growth and improve profitability,” Meritus Vice Chairman Rob D’Alessandro told Gas World. “We’re all about bringing opportunity to our partner companies rather than dictating direction.”

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