Airgas continues to reject hostile takeover offer

By Murray Pollok14 September 2010

Airgas, owner of Red-D-Arc welder rental company, continues to fight off a hostile takeover bid by Air Products.

Air Products has made unsolicited offers for Airgas since late 2009 and Airgas has consistently argued that its offer undervalues the business. Air Products offered US$62.00 per share in December last year, upping that to $63.50 in the summer and more recently increasing it to $65.50.

Airgas said on 10 September that four leading proxy advisory firms - companies that advise shareholders how to vote - had recommended that Airgas shareholders vote against the Air Product proposals for a shareholders meeting in January 2011.

Peter McCausland, chairman and chief executive officer of Airgas, said, "With all four leading proxy advisory firms recommending against Air Products' proposal, we believe it is clear that Air Products' effort to force a stockholder meeting in January, coupled with its threat to terminate its offer, is simply a heavy-handed attempt to steal Airgas by not offering full and fair value to our stockholders."

Airgas holds its annual meeting of stockholders on 15 September.

Meanwhile, Airgas announced early in September that it has signed a five year strategic agreement with BAE Systems, the UK defence and aerospace company. Airgas will supply BAE System's manufacturing locations in the US with industrial gas, welding hardgoods and and personal protective equipment.

A spokesman for Airgas said Red-D-Arc would have a "meaningful" presence in the five year deal.

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