We’re hard at work on the next issue of Welding & Gases Today. For the next issue, we’re looking ahead to the future of the industry. Where is the industry going? What’s ahead?
One of the things I’ve noticed is that companies within the industry seem to be making their play to establish a stronger foothold for the future. Last year we saw supplier Air Products try to get back into the packaged gas side of the business with the attempted takeover of Airgas. In Canada, supplier Air Liquide has acquired multiple businesses on the distribution side, most recently Unitec in the Toronto area on October 4. Will this trend roll over into the U.S.?
Earlier today, Linde CEO Wolfgang Reitzle said in a press conference that the company would like to improve its market position in the U.S. Linde will seek to do this through a combination of organic growth and small to medium-sized purchases. It is yet to be seen what form these purchases will take.
Regardless, there is clearly a pattern of consolidation in the industry. In October 2010, Welding & Gases Today looked at the growing trend in the article “Is Now The Time To Expand?” nexAir (Memphis, TN) CFO and General Counsel Milton Lovell said the rate of acquisitions was partly due to the economy. “There’s increased competition for those customers who are out there, so large- and medium-sized players are using consolidation to increase their market shares,” he said in the article.
Is today’s announcement from Linde simply a continuation of this trend? Or is it something more? How is the changing landscape impacting your business?
While we’re looking at the future, I want to share this futuristic video. Students at Paris Diderot University in France have created a levitating hoverboard by using liquid nitrogen to create a magnetic superconductor. Enjoy!