Meritus Gas Partners (“Meritus”) announced that it entered into a partnership with Volunteer Welding Supply, Inc. (“Volunteer”), headquartered in Nashville, TN. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Volunteer is a leading independent distributor of industrial and specialty gases, welding and safety supplies, with four locations in Tennessee (Nashville, Tullahoma, Baxter, and Knoxville, the latter under the brand of its affiliate, A-Welders Supply & Medical Gases). Volunteer has been owned and operated by the McMurtry family since its inception. Co-owners and brothers, David and John Mark McMurtry, will continue to lead the business while maintaining significant equity ownership in Meritus.
“Our parents, Harold and Evelyn McMurtry, founded Volunteer in 1973,” said John Mark McMurtry, Volunteer’s President. “My brother David and I grew up in the business. When we contemplated Volunteer’s future, it was important to us to honor our parents’ and family’s legacies. We chose to partner with Meritus to maintain Volunteer’s independence and brand and continued commitment to our dedicated employees and loyal customers.”
“We are excited about the future of Volunteer,” said David McMurtry. “Our business is thriving and growing, yet we are also facing business challenges like other industrial gas distributors – customer consolidation, supply chain dislocations and increasing regulatory complexities. As a member of Meritus, we will be a part of a larger, more diverse organization which will help us accelerate our growth as well as navigate the challenges we face. We will now be able to lean on our partners at Meritus and the other operating companies to share best practices, leverage buying relationships and exchange customer leads.”
“We are so pleased to welcome Volunteer into the Meritus family of companies”, said Meritus’ Vice Chairman, Rob D’Alessandro. “The McMurtrys have built a premier distributorship over 40+ years. Volunteer’s calling card is its commitment to superior customer service and it has capitalized on the tremendous growth opportunities available to it by being based in Nashville, one of the top growing welding and packaged gas markets in the US. Volunteer has a newly renovated facility in Nashville, including a brand new specialty gas laboratory, and continues to invest in microbulk technologies. It is poised to continue its exciting growth trajectory and we are looking forward to supporting the McMurtrys and their employees on this path.”
“We are excited to be a part of this national federation,” concluded John Mark McMurtry. “We had strong, personal preexisting relationships with the owners of Atlas Welding, a founding Meritus member company, and operate in a contiguous geography to both Atlas and new Meritus member, OzArc Gas. We are also really excited about the potential partners in our robust acquisition pipeline. We want to build something great with our new partners, something to be proud of. We want to leave a lasting imprint on our industry.”
In December 2020, AEA Investors formed Meritus via partnerships with Willingham Welding Solutions, Inc. (d/b/a Gas Innovations) (“Gas Innovations”) and Atlas. Meritus intends to partner with leading owner-operators to assemble a national federation of high-quality independent distributors of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and associated welding and safety supplies, located in diverse geographies across North America and serving growing end-markets.
About Meritus Gas Partners
Founded in December 2020, Meritus is assembling a national federation 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.
About AEA Investors
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 100 investment professionals operate globally with offices in New York, Stamford, San Francisco, London, Munich and Shanghai. The firm manages funds that have over $15 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. The AEA Small Business Funds is a strategy within AEA that currently manages $1.9 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.