Meritus Gas Partners has made an investment in OzArc, a distributor of packaged gases and welding supplies headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. No financial terms were disclosed. Meritus is backed by AEA Investors.
Meritus Gas Partners (“Meritus”) announced today that it entered into a partnership with OzArc Gas Equipment & Supply, Inc., (“OzArc”), a leading independent distributor of packaged gases and welding supplies headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
OzArc operates nine locations throughout southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky and northeastern Arkansas. The business has been owned and operated by the Garner family since its founding in 1945.
“Meritus is a great fit for our business and family,” said Bob Garner, OzArc’s principal owner and Chairman. “By partnering with Meritus, OzArc will maintain its independence, brand and identity, and will remain under the leadership of the Garner Family. We are proud that our family’s legacy will carry on, and our valued employees and long-standing customers will be well cared for.”
Bob Garner will retire as part of the transaction while his co-owner and son, James Garner, will remain as President. James Garner’s brother and sister, co-owners Michael Beattie and Tracey Akers, will remain as Vice Presidents. James, Michael and Tracey will all maintain significant equity ownership in Meritus.
“We are excited about what this partnership means for the future of OzArc,” said James Garner. “As part of Meritus, we will gain access to financial resources, a veteran leadership team and a network of best-in-class gas distributors and management teams that will allow us to enhance customer service and grow the business in ways we may not have been able to achieve alone. We are excited to be investors in a national business with excellent growth prospects and exposure to other geographies and sectors across the U.S.”
“We are fortunate to welcome OzArc, the Garner family and their dedicated employees into Meritus,” said Meritus Chairman, Scott Kaltrider. “For over 75 years, the Garners have established OzArc as a leading independent distributor in the Midwest and Mid-South geographies. OzArc has an excellent reputation in the areas it services and we see immediate opportunities to help expand its current product and service offerings and geographical footprint to grow the business substantially. OzArc represents a key component in Meritus’ strategy of building a national federation of high-quality, independently operated packaged gas distributors. We are excited about our partnership with OzArc as well as the outlook for Meritus moving forward.”
About Meritus Gas Partners
Founded in January 2021, Meritus is assembling a national federation of high-quality independent distributors of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and welding and safety supplies, located in diverse geographies and serving growing end-markets. Meritus will partner with exceptional businesses and management teams, allow them to remain independent and entrepreneurial, and support them to accelerate growth, improve business quality and enhance value. Owners are invited to invest meaningful equity into the Meritus holding company to allow them to share in the success of the overall platform. Visit us online at www.MeritusGas.com.
About AEA Investors
AEA Investors LP was founded in 1968 by the Rockefeller, Mellon and Harriman family interests and S.G. Warburg & Co. as a private investment vehicle for a select group of industrial family offices with substantial assets. AEA has an extraordinary global network built over many years which includes leading industrial families, business executives and leaders; many of whom invest with AEA as active individual investors and/or join its portfolio company boards or act in other advisory roles. Today, AEA’s approximately 100 investment professionals operate globally with offices in New York, Stamford, San Francisco, London, Munich and Shanghai. The firm manages funds that have over $15 billion of invested and committed capital including the leveraged buyouts of middle market companies and small business companies, growth capital and mezzanine and senior debt investments. The AEA Small Business Funds is a strategy within AEA that currently manages $1.9 billion of invested and committed capital. The team seeks to help grow and transform companies at the lower end of the middle market by sponsoring growing companies with proven management teams and superior business models.