Airgas: Independents Reluctant to Sell Businesses Right Now - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

Airgas: Independents Reluctant to Sell Businesses Right Now

Airgas sees acquisitions slow in its fiscal first quarter.

The fiscal first quarter was a bit slower than anticipated for Airgas – on the earnings front and on the acquisitions front. Sales met the low end of the company's guidance, with the lackluster results due in large part to volatility in refrigerant pricing during the quarter, which ended June 30.

But perhaps the bigger news is that Airgas, widely known for its aggressive acquisition strategy, only completed one small acquisition. But it's not from lack of interest of the part of Airgas.

"I would say that most independents are still optimistic about the U.S. economy and still aren't back to even in terms of the volume they enjoyed pre-recession," CFO Robert McLaughlin said during the investor call to discuss the first-quarter results. "So there is a reluctance there."

"However, there are some very good distributors that are considering sale for reasons other than the economy.” Looming retirement and a desire to do something different in life were just a couple of examples.

As a result, the company remains positive about its goal of $150 million in acquired sales for 2014. "I'm optimistic, but I can't guarantee it," McLaughlin said. "We've got a pretty good pipeline, and it's early in the year. And as I said, we've decided to focus on the very best distributors out there, and I think we'll get our share."

While uncertainty around refrigerants had a negative impact on Airgas' first-quarter results, the company says it is seeing positive signs from many other areas going forward. The construction market is beginning to pick up, even though "it's nowhere near lift-off yet," said Peter McCausland, executive chairman. "…Our customers are telling us that the big surge is going to come in a couple of quarters."

Other positive signs are coming from energy markets and from growth in chemical and fertilizer production in the U.S.

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.