Praxair And nexAir Announce Joint Venture

Praxair will contribute 8 branches of its packaged gas distribution business in GA, AL and TN and acquire an equity stake in the combined business . . .

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DANBURY, Conn. & MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Praxair, Inc., one of the largest industrial gases companies worldwide, and Memphis-based nexAir LLC, one of the largest distributors of atmospheric gases and welding supplies in the United States, announced plans to form a joint venture in the Southeast United States.

According to the terms of the joint venture, Praxair will contribute 8 branches of its packaged gas distribution business in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee and acquire an equity stake in the combined business, which will have sales of approximately $150 million.

“Developing a closer relationship with nexAir allows both companies to expand into new areas that will benefit from our combined capabilities,” said John Panikar, president of Praxair Distribution, Inc., the packaged gas subsidiary of Praxair, Inc. “Praxair is making major investments in Memphis and the broader southeast region. Our investment in nexAir is an expression of our confidence in our ability to grow faster together.”

“nexAir has been a successful packaged gas distributor in this region and their growth and success have helped our industrial gases business tremendously. Together we will have a stronger support network and broader set of services for customers in the region,” added Panikar.

“We have worked with Praxair for 72 years and we are confident this expansion of that relationship will mean future opportunities for all involved,” said Kevin McEniry, nexAir CEO. “nexAir’s primary goal has always been to offer opportunities for our people by increasing our ability to compete and grow profitably, and we believe this formal partnership aligns perfectly with that goal.”

“Our family is proud to have built nexAir into a successful company that can expand profitably and offer employees continued opportunities for growth,” said Kevin McEniry. “There will be no changes to the nexAir leadership team, our culture or to how we conduct business day-to-day. nexAir will continue to be nexAir."

About Praxair

Praxair, Inc. is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2011 sales of $11 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others. More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at

About nexAir

nexAir was formed in 1996 through the merger of two family-owned Memphis companies – Mid-South Oxygen Company (founded in 1946) and Standard Welders Supply/Standard Oxygen Service (founded in 1940 and purchased by the McEniry family in 1950). Bob McEniry served as CEO of nexAir from 1976 to 2007, when he turned the title of CEO of the third-generation family-owned company over to his son, Kevin.

nexAir is one of the largest distributors of atmospheric gases and welding supplies in the United States. Based in Memphis, the company sells, packages and distributes atmospheric gases, including medical, specialty and industrial gases. nexAir also sells related products, including welding equipment, welding supplies, safety supplies and dry ice. Founded in 1940, nexAir serves customers in nine states with 26 locations and more than 270 employees. For more information about nexAir, visit

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