NEW YORK, April 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Meritus Gas Partners (“Meritus”) announced today that it entered into a partnership with OXARC, Inc. (“OXARC”), headquartered in Spokane, WA. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1968, OXARC is one of the largest independent distributors of industrial and specialty gases, welding and safety supplies in the United States, operating 20 locations across Washington (10), Oregon (5) and Idaho (5). The Walmsley family has owned and operated OXARC since its inception. Co-Executive Vice Presidents Jenna Fitzgerald, granddaughter of founder Jerry Walmsley, and Jason Kirby will continue to lead the business while holding significant equity ownership in Meritus.
“We are thrilled to welcome OXARC into the Meritus family of operating companies,” said Meritus Chairman Scott Kaltrider. “The Walmsley’s have built one of the leading distributorships in the country for over 55 years.”
“OXARC has earned the reputation as the premier independent distributor in the Pacific Northwest, fulfilling my grandfather’s vision,” said Jenna Fitzgerald. “When we contemplated OXARC’s future, it was important to us to honor our grandfather and continue our family’s legacy. Partnering with Meritus affords two generations of Walmsley owners to retire and monetize their investments, while allowing the company to remain under the direction of the family’s third generation. We will maintain OXARC’s independence and brand and remain committed to our dedicated employees and loyal customers.”
OXARC serves customers in various industries, including agriculture, construction and manufacturing, and has built a reputation for its exceptional customer service and commitment to quality. The partnership furthers Meritus’ strategy to expand its presence in the Western United States and is expected to generate significant growth opportunities for Meritus in the Pacific Northwest.
“OXARC represents a platform opportunity for Meritus to serve the Pacific Northwest, one of the most diverse and growing economies in the country,” said Kaltrider. “OXARC’s footprint is vast and its expansive bulk and packaged gas capabilities are unique for a distributor. OXARC is poised for extraordinary growth, and we are looking forward to supporting Jenna, Jason and their employees on this path.”
“We are excited about partnering with Meritus and the future of OXARC,” said Jason Kirby. “While our business is thriving, Meritus’ support can turbocharge our growth through further capital investment, follow-on acquisitions and expansion into new geographies and markets. We also look forward to networking among the other Meritus operating companies to share best practices, take advantage of buying relationships and exchange customer leads.”
Founded in December 2020, Meritus is a portfolio company of AEA Investors Small Business Private Equity. Meritus is assembling a national network 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.
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 110 investment professionals operate globally with offices in New York, Stamford, San Francisco, London, Munich and Shanghai. The firm manages funds that have approximately $18 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. AEA Small Business Private Equity is a strategy within AEA that currently manages approximately $2 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.
SOURCE: Meritus Gas Partners