10 minutes with … Allen Jezouit

By Molly Burgess on Nov 01, 2022 | gasworld

Thank you for taking 10 minutes out to talk to gasworld. What have we interrupted in your schedule today?

It’s been a busy time here for us at the GAWDA Annual Convention. Myself and my colleagues have been meeting with potential acquisition candidates for our business pretty much non-stop.

So, who is Meritus Gas Partners and what is your role in the industrial gas space?

Meritus is a private equity-funded venture that is doing a roll-up strategy in the industrial gases space. We are acquiring independent distributors around the US and are focused on high-growth geographies. With this, we look at specific metro areas that are growing fast, trying to find a platform partner within those spaces, and then looking for plug-in acquisitions around them.

How does Meritus differ from other acquirers in the space?

One of the most important things is that we’re trying to find a situation where there’s an outstanding management team that is going to stay on and run the business. We are not rebranding the firms we acquire. They are keeping the family or brand name and so, if they have a liquidity event where they need to cash out a relative, a family member, or a couple of partners, the people who are left behind are going to stay and work for us and run that company. We’re not in the business of  going in to cut heads and take over the business. We want the management to continue to run the business, to take care of their employees, to keep their brand name and their legacy. That’s what makes us different.

How many companies has Meritus already partnered with and are you actively seeking new opportunities in this space?

We have signed seven deals and have eight companies on board. That said, we are very much looking for new partners to help us further expand. 

Moving onto the theme of this month’s magazine, clean fuels, what growth and demand is Meritus Gas Partners witnessing in this space?

We are seeing strong demand for high purity hydrocarbons that are used as process gases. That’s a busy market for us. When it comes to clean fuels, however, it seems like it’s a little bit larger scale and more for the major industrial gas companies that are getting involved in green hydrogen investments and other similar projects.

What other trends have been big for Meritus Gas Partners in 2022?

gasworld held a CO2 Summit last month in Chicago, and it was a perfect example of one of the biggest trends: tightness in the CO2 market and all the new potential sources for CO2. I was actually just joking around this morning about the idea that in welding, argon could actually be cheaper than CO2. It’s staggering to think about that, but the price curves are sorting trending in that direction, and that was never the case. 

You just mentioned the CO2 Summit there. Today we’re here at the GAWDA Annual Convention. Why don’t you tell us about why these events are so important to Meritus Gas Partners and its growth?

Events like this bring many distributors all together in one place. We’re trying to develop relationships with distributors. I was also able to meet with lots of existing and potential suppliers. I spent some time with 10-12 suppliers this morning and walked away with some solid action items. These events are just great for building industry relationships. 

In closing, what can we expect to see from Meritus Gas Partners in 2023?

We’re going to roughly double in size with a couple of the acquistions that we are getting close to finalizing. We should end 2022 with sales in the range of $180m to $200m. Next year, we expect to reach aggregate sales of around $350m if all goes to plan. 

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