Airgas, Air Products meet to discuss valuation

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – Industrial gas company Airgas Inc (ARG.N: ), which has been fending off a $5.5 billion hostile bid from rival Air Products and Chemicals(APD.N: ), said senior executives from the two companies met on Thursday to discuss their views on Airgas’ valuation.

Airgas Chief Executive Peter McCausland and Chairman John van Roden exchanged views with Air Products CEO John McGlade, and Chief Financial Officer Paul Huck at the meeting on Thursday, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. No further meetings are planned.

Airgas had said earlier this week its board believes it is worth at least $78 a share in a sale, nearly 20 percent more than Air Products’ $65.50 a share bid.

But Air Products responded that $78 a share is not a “realistic valuation” and not “anywhere near what we are prepared to pay.”

Air Products has been working to take over Airgas since February and has seen the smaller company’s stock price surge nearly 60 percent since launching its bid.

The company’s shares have dropped more than 3.5 percent, however, since Airgas suggested the $78-a-share price target on Tuesday. They fell 71 cents, or 1 percent, to $68.60 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

If successful in its quest for Airgas, Air Products would become the biggest industrial gas company in North America. Airgas is an attractive target because of its large distribution network and 1,500 sales representatives.

Air Products shares closed up $1.40, or 1.6 percent, at $86.86 on the NYSE.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder and Michael Erman; editing by Carol Bishopric)

Airgas, Air Products meet to discuss valuation