Late breaking

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Praxair makes giant acquisition
BEAUMONT, Texas - In what appears to be the largest deal ever involving a privately held HME, industrial gas giant Praxair has agreed to pay $245 million to acquire Home Care Supply.

The Beaumont, Texas-based HME operates 59 locations in 13 states, and last year generated $169 million in revenue.

In early 2001, Praxair completed several sizeable acquisitions (Interwest Home Medical, Falls Medical and Healthcare Partners), but since then has been relatively quiet on the M&A front. The Home Care Supply deal proves that Praxair is committed to the HME market - despite numerous Medicare reimbursement cuts scheduled to kick in over the next few years, said M&A expert Rick Glass, president of Steven Richards & Associates in Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Praxair had 2003 sales of $5.61 billion. Once the acquisition of Home Care Supply is completed, the healthcare business will account for about 13% of Praxair sales worldwide, the company stated in a release.

Home Care Supply’s current management team is expected to continue with Praxair.