Atlas Welding Supply Co. Inc. has partnered with Gas Innovations and AEA Investors to form Meritus Gas Partners, a packaged gas distribution platform.
Founded in 1944, Atlas, under the ownership of President Bill Visintainer and Vice President and CFO James Cain, will continue to operate Atlas independently, while also maintaining equity ownership in Meritus, where Visintainer will join the board of directors. Atlas currently has two locations, in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, distributing industrial, specialty and medical gases, as well as welding and cutting supplies.
“We look forward to partnering with a team that will empower Atlas to grow to a level we may not have been able to achieve alone,” Visintainer said. “We believe the packaged gas industry remains highly fragmented, which presents a significant consolidation opportunity. We are committed to the industrial gas industry and are now able to diversify our investment into businesses in other geographies and sectors across the U.S., and ultimately, the continent.”
Gas Innovations is a Texas-based company led by President Ashley Madray and Vice President Jason Willingham. It is a producer, purifier and packager of high purity hydrocarbon specialty gases.
The Meritus executive team will be led by Chairman Scott Kaltrider and Vice Chairman Rob D’Alessandro, who combined have 50 years of experience in the packaged gas industry. Meritus will partner with independent packaged gas distributors across North America. Its goal is to assemble a national federation of high-quality independent distributors of industrial, medical and specialty gases and welding and safety supplies located in diverse geographies serving growing end markets.
“We believe Atlas is well-positioned to continue its strong growth trajectory both organically and through additional M&A in both Alabama and the surrounding region. We have great appreciation for the professionalism and dedication of Atlas’ talented team and its focus on providing customer solutions backed by best-in-class products and services,” said D’Alessandro.
AEA Investors LP’s Small Business Fund invested in Atlas as part of the formation of Meritus. AEA’s Small Business Funds currently manages $1.8 billion of invested and committed capital, seeking to grow companies at the lower end of the middle market with proven management teams and superior business models. The company operates out of New York, Connecticut, London, Munich and Shanghai.