Air Products & Chemicals (APD) has raised its bid for Airgas (ARG) to $65.50 a share in an all-cash offer. The latest offer represents a 50% premium above Airgas' closing stock price on Feb. 4, the day prior to Air Products submitting its first acquisition plan, Air Products said Monday in a written statement.

The latest offer is also superior to Air Products most recent bid of $63.50 a share. If its hostile bid is successful, Air Products would become the largest industrial gas company in North America, and may be well suited to benefit from the nation's fledgling economic recovery when it gains steam.

In a statement issued Tuesday after Air Products' latest bid, Airgas said its board would review the revised offer, noting that its shares closed at $66.67 a share Friday. (U.S. financial markets were closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.)

Air Products, which supplies gases such as argon, helium and nitrogen to customers in the metals, chemical and pharmaceuticals sectors, wants Airgas for its large sales and distribution network and 1,500 sales representatives, Reuters reported.

Airgas sells canisters of specialty gases to industrial and medical facilities. It buys much of its gas from Air Products. Both companies are based in Pennsylvania.

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