Airgas, Inc. Logo

Print Print page   Email Email page   PDF Download PDF
« Previous Release | Next Release »



Airgas Believes Air Products' Tactics Designed to Deprive Stockholders of Value

Sends Letter Urging Stockholders to Vote "FOR" Airgas' Three Experienced and Highly Qualified Directors and "AGAINST" Air Products' By-Law Amendment Proposals

RADNOR, PA - August 23, 2010 - Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) today announced that it has commenced mailing of a letter to all Airgas stockholders regarding the tactics employed by Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: APD) ("Air Products") over the past ten months. The full text of the letter is below.

August 23, 2010
Dear Airgas Stockholder:

Air Products has been trying for ten months to acquire Airgas, including the launching of a hostile tender offer and proxy contest over six months ago. During this period, Airgas and its stockholders have been subjected to numerous tactics by Air Products as it seeks to buy your company at, in our view, the lowest possible price. During the same period, Airgas has defended itself in the manner which reflects our stockholder orientation, our culture and our values - we have gone about our business, demonstrated the great value in our company and achieved extraordinary operating results. We believe "It's All About Value," as we have said repeatedly (see our slide presentation dated August 18, 20101).

Despite our unmistakably clear message, the one approach Air Products has failed to employ is to offer an appropriate price - one that compensates our stockholders for Airgas' scarcity and synergy value, extraordinary history of operating and financial performance, outstanding recent results and excellent growth prospects.

THE LATEST TACTIC

Air Products' most recent tactic - a furious, but unsuccessful, attempt to persuade our stockholders to tender their shares by the now-passed offer expiration date (August 13) to "send a message" to the Airgas Board - is consistent with Air Products' approach throughout the past ten months. If Air Products wants to deliver a "message" to our Board, it should do it the "old-fashioned way" - by offering you an appropriate price. Instead of "delivering messages" to our Board, Air Products should deliver real value to our stockholders. Otherwise, it should terminate its low-ball takeover bid and allow our stockholders to benefit from the value which Airgas expects to create, as Airgas has done throughout its history.

PREVIOUS TACTICS

Air Products' previous tactics include: the low-ball pricing of the Airgas offers; the public relations effort to justify that pricing and to "talk down" Airgas' performance and its prospects; the constant attacks impugning the Airgas Board and its response to the inadequate offers from Air Products; and the effort, through its proxy solicitation, to cut off Airgas stockholders' ability to benefit from Airgas' very strong performance as the domestic economy emerges from recession. In our view, Air Products is using shortcuts in its attempt to acquire Airgas, rather than offering an appropriate price.

ENOUGH OF AIR PRODUCTS' TACTICS!

If Air Products truly wants to acquire Airgas, it knows what to do. It must offer a price that fairly compensates you - our stockholders - or terminate its efforts.

VOTE YOUR WHITE PROXY CARD "FOR" THE THREE HIGHLY QUALIFIED AIRGAS DIRECTORS AND "AGAINST" AIR PRODUCTS' PROPOSED BY-LAW AMENDMENTS

Whether or not you plan to attend the Airgas Annual Meeting, you have the opportunity to protect your investment by promptly voting the WHITE proxy card. We urge you to vote by telephone, by Internet, or by signing, dating and returning the enclosed WHITE proxy card in the postage-paid envelope provided.

Remember, please do NOT vote using any Gold proxy card or voting instruction form that you receive from Air Products. This is important, because only your latest-dated vote counts. Therefore, if you vote using the Gold proxy card (even if you vote "withhold" on the Air Products nominees), a Gold proxy card will cancel any vote you previously executed using a WHITE proxy card or voting instruction form. And your Company needs your votes on the WHITE proxy card: FOR the Airgas nominees and AGAINST Air Products' By-Law amendments.

If you have questions about how to vote your shares, please contact Innisfree M&A Incorporated, which is assisting Airgas in this matter, toll-free at (877) 687-1875.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

/s/ Peter McCausland
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are serving as financial advisors, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal counsel to Airgas and its Board of Directors.

About Airgas, Inc.
Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), through its subsidiaries, is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and hardgoods, such as welding equipment and supplies. Airgas is also one of the largest U.S. distributors of safety products, the largest U.S. producer of nitrous oxide and dry ice, the largest liquid carbon dioxide producer in the Southeast, and a leading distributor of process chemicals, refrigerants, and ammonia products. More than 14,000 employees work in over 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities and distribution centers. Airgas also distributes its products and services through eBusiness, catalog and telesales channels. Its national scale and strong local presence offer a competitive edge to its diversified customer base. For more information, please visit www.airgas.com.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
In connection with its 2010 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Airgas, Inc. has filed a definitive proxy statement on Schedule 14A with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). INVESTORS AND STOCKHOLDERS OF AIRGAS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT FOR THE 2010 ANNUAL MEETING IN ITS ENTIRETY BECAUSE IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION. In response to the tender offer proposed by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. referred to in this communication, Airgas has filed with the SEC a Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9, as amended. STOCKHOLDERS OF AIRGAS ARE ADVISED TO READ AIRGAS' SOLICITATION/ RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT ON SCHEDULE 14D-9, AS AMENDED, IN ITS ENTIRETY BECAUSE IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION. This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities of Air Products. Investors and stockholders will be able to obtain free copies of Airgas' definitive proxy statement, the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9, any amendments or supplements to the proxy statement and/or the Schedule 14D-9, any other documents filed by Airgas in connection with the 2010 Annual Meeting and/or the tender offer by Air Products, and other documents filed with the SEC by Airgas at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Free copies of the definitive proxy statement, the Solicitation/ Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9, and any amendments and supplements to these documents are also available in the "Investor Information" section of the Company's website at www.airgas.com, or through the following web address: http://investor.shareholder.com/arg/airgascontent.cfm. Airgas and its directors and certain of its executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in connection with its 2010 Annual Meeting. Detailed information regarding the names, affiliations and interests of Airgas' directors and executive officers is available in the definitive proxy statement for the 2010 Annual Meeting, which was filed with the SEC on July 23, 2010. To the extent holdings of Airgas securities have changed, such changes have been or will be reflected on Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This presentation contains statements that are forward looking. Forward-looking statements include the statements identified as forward-looking in the Company's press release announcing its quarterly earnings, as well as any statement that is not based on historical fact, including statements containing the words "believes," "may," "plans," "will," "could," "should," "estimates," "continues," "anticipates," "intends," "expects" and similar expressions. All forward-looking statements are based on current expectations regarding important risk factors and should not be regarded as a representation by us or any other person that the results expressed therein will be achieved. Airgas assumes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements for any reason, except as required by law. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement include the factors identified in the Company's press release announcing its quarterly earnings, as well as other factors described in the Company's reports, including its March 31, 2010 Form 10-K, subsequent Forms 10-Q, and other forms filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company notes that forward-looking statements made in connection with a tender offer are not subject to the safe harbors created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company is not waiving any other defenses that may be available under applicable law.


1 Airgas, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on August 18, 2010.
2 Airgas, Inc. Amendment No. 21 to Schedule 14D-9, filed with the SEC on July 21, 2010.
3 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on July 22, 2010.
4 Linde year-over-year EPS growth adjusted for the effects of the BOC acquisition and one-time restructuring charges of €47 million during the second quarter of 2009. On an as-reported basis, year-over-year EPS growth was 85%.
5 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on July 21, 2010.
6 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule TO, filed with the SEC on February 11, 2010.
7 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on July 22, 2010.
8 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Q3 2010 Earnings Conference Call on July 22, 2010, response of Air Products' Chief Financial Officer.
9 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2010.
10 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on June 10, 2010.
11 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on February 5, 2010.
12 Assumes an illustrative pre-tax cost of debt of 4.50% and an illustrative tax rate of 25%. Assumes $375 million of costs to achieve synergies (mid-point of Air Products' stated range of $350 million to $400 million), financed with debt. Cash EPS accretion represents GAAP EPS excluding any incremental depreciation and amortization from asset write-ups created by the proposed transaction and excluding financing fee amortization. Based on these assumptions and assuming that an illustrative 20% of the equity purchase price in excess of tangible book value is allocated to depreciable or amortizable asset write-ups with an average life of 10 years, GAAP EPS accretion at a $63.50 per share offer would be over 15%.
13 Assumes that synergies are capitalized at median peer EV / CY2010E EBITDA multiple of 9.0x and that $400 million in costs to implement are subtracted from that value. The resultant $1.85 billion in value is divided by the Airgas total diluted share count based on the most recent Air Products offer price of $63.50 per share.
14 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on February 12, 2010.
15 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on February 18, 2010.
16 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on June 10, 2010.
17 Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on July 22, 2010.

Media Contact:
Jay Worley
jay.worley@airgas.com
(610) 902-6206

Investor Contact:
Barry Strzelec
barry.strzelec@airgas.com
(610) 902-6256

Joele Frank / Dan Katcher / Andrew Siegel
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
(212) 355-4449

Close window | Back to top