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Praxair To Acquire NuCO2 From Aurora Capital Group In $1.1 Bln Cash Deal

Industrial gas producer Praxair, Inc. (PX) agreed Tuesday to acquire NuCO2, Inc. from private equity firm Aurora Capital Group for $1.1 billion in cash. The deal, subject to customary conditions and regulatory approval, is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

NuCO2 is a national provider of fountain and draught beer beverage carbonation solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industry in the U.S.

NuCO2's revenues are largely derived from the installation, maintenance and rental of bulk CO2 systems and delivery of beverage grade CO2, which are increasingly replacing high pressure CO2, until now the traditional method for carbonating fountain beverages.

"NuCO2 offers a compelling value proposition for beverage carbonation. We plan to continue to grow the business in the United States, enhance distribution efficiency utilizing Praxair's competencies in logistics, and extend NuCO2's offerings to customers in other regions of the world," Praxair Executive Vice President Eduardo Menezes said in a statement.

Danbury, Connecticut-based Praxair said the acquired business is expected to generate full year sales in 2013 of about $250 million. The acquisition is expected to be neutral to slightly accretive to Praxair's 2013 earnings per share.

NuCO2 was taken private when Los Angeles, California-based Aurora Capital acquired the business in May 2008 for $484 million. It was listed until then on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol 'NUCO'.

The company then filed an initial registration statement in April 2010 to go public again and be listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol 'NUCO'. After just over two years, the company withdrew the registration statement in July 2012. The company said it is 'determined not to pursue the contemplated public offering at this time.'

PX closed Monday's regular trading session at $110.18, down $0.25 on a volume of 0.84 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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