AEA SBF Forms Meritus Gas Partners

AEA Investors’ Small Business Fund announced today that its fund has formed Meritus Gas Partners via the acquisitions of Willingham Welding Solutions, Inc. and Atlas Welding Supply Co., Inc.

New York – December 31, 2020 – AEA Investors’ (“AEA” or the “Firm”) Small Business Fund (“AEA SBF”) announced today that its fund has formed Meritus Gas Partners (“Meritus”) via the acquisitions of Willingham Welding Solutions, Inc. (d/b/a Gas Innovations) (“Gas Innovations”) and Atlas Welding Supply Co., Inc. (“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. Gas Innovations and Atlas are leading independent distributors of industrial gases, also offering related rentals & services, and hardgoods.

Meritus recapitalized Gas Innovations and Atlas as the foundation of this strategy in partnership with an AEA SBF Executive Partner team led by accomplished industry executives Scott Kaltrider and Rob D’Alessandro who previously helped lead Praxair’s $2 billion packaged gas distribution business Praxair Distribution Inc. (“PDI”). Gas Innovations and Atlas will continue to be operated by their current management teams led by Ashley Madray, Jason Willingham, Dennis Frings, Bill Visintainer, and James Cain. Gas Innovations and Atlas will continue to provide strong service and compelling value proposition to their long-term customers while also leveraging the benefits of their common partnership and the resources of the broader Meritus platform.

About Gas Innovations
Gas Innovations was founded in 2002 with the goal of providing industrial gas producers and distributors a dependable, independent wholesale supply partner. Since its founding, the company has grown to become a worldwide supplier of high purity hydrocarbons, refrigerant gases and specialty gases. Gas Innovations is located at the mouth of the Houston Ship Channel, La Porte, TX. Visit us online at

About Atlas
Founded in 1944, Atlas Welding Supply is leading distributor of industrial, specialty, and medical gases as well as welding and cutting supplies. With locations in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Atlas is a trusted partner for everything from supplying the appropriate gas and troubleshooting equipment to providing customized solutions that guarantee customers’ maximum efficiency and offering seamless customer service. For more information, please visit

About AEA
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 (“Participants”) and/or join its portfolio company boards or act in other advisory roles. Today, AEA’s approximately 90 investment professionals operate globally with offices in New York, Connecticut, 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 and mezzanine and senior debt investments. AEA Private Equity invests across three sectors: value added industrials, consumer, and services. The AEA Small Business Funds is a strategy within AEA that currently manages $1.8 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. For more information, please visit

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