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Industrial gas producer and supplier, Praxair Inc. (PX - Analyst Report) recently announced the acquisition of the merchant carbon dioxide business from Tri-State Carbonic, LLC. Financial terms have been kept under wraps for this acquisition.

Tri-State is well recognised as a bulk carbon dioxide gas producer, especially for industrial purposes. The acquisition adds Tri-State’s carbon dioxide plant in Lawrenceburg, Indiana to Praxair’s existing CO2 Portfolio and will enable the latter to better serve its customers in the Cincinnati and Louisville areas.

So far acquisitions have been Praxair’s preferred way of expansion into new businesses and markets. Prior to this acquisition, the company in Mar 2013 completed the acquisition of California-based beverage carbonator, NuCO2 Inc for $1.1 billion cash. The addition of the NuCO2 assets enhanced Praxair’s product portfolio and enabled it to leverage benefits by expanding the fizz business to other parts of the world.

Praxair seems well positioned to achieve its long-term target of annual organic sales growth of 8%-12% by 2015. The company’s policy of returning values to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks as well as strategic acquisitions and joint ventures bodes well for the company.

Praxair is slated to release its first quarter 2013 results on Apr 24, 2013. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2013 is $1.38, representing a year-over-year increase of 0.1%. Estimates for 2013 and 2014 are $6.00 and $6.81, reflecting annual growth of 7.8% and 13.4%, respectively.

The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks to watch out for in the industry are Celanese Corporation (CE - Analyst Report), LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB - Snapshot Report) and Olin Corp. (OLN - Snapshot Report), each with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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