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Middlesex Gases & Technologies Market Profile - Keeping a Close Eye on the Rapidly Developing Biotech Needs

August, 2013

Middlesex Gases & Technologies, Inc. (middlesexgases.com), a family-owned, third generation distributor of specialty and industrial gases, cryogenic storage equipment, and welding equipment and supplies, operates in Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. From its inception 64 years ago as a two person company with one pick-up truck, Middlesex Gases of Everett, MA has grown to employ 60 people in five locations with three filling plants and a fleet consisting of 25 service and delivery trucks and five bulk transports. The company currently services approximately 5,000 clients.

Today, owners Bo and Tom Martin manage Middlesex Gases as co-CEOs. Their focus is on the company's continuing investment in the growth of the specialty gases market and the permacyl and bulk gas markets. From its prime location in metropolitan Boston, Middlesex Gases keeps a close eye on the rapidly developing biotech industry in Massachusetts, which includes the fast expanding life sciences and pharmaceutical markets, medical centers, and university labs throughout the Northeast. According to the Boston Globe (bostonglobe.com), new biotech lab space in the suburbs west of Boston grew by more than 50 percent from 2007-2012, not pausing for the recession.

In winning this type of sophisticated and fast changing business, Middlesex is up against some big and not-so-independent competition. Ron Perry, Manager of Sales and Marketing at Middlesex, says, "Our success as an independent distributor depends on Middlesex being faster and more efficient than our competitors when it comes to providing product and service. Our customers and potential customers expect top quality product and service at a fair price. Our goal is for our customers to have peace of mind that we will be there to solve their challenges and meet the expectations they have of us."

Middlesex has a goal of increasing annual sales by 5-10 percent. While Middlesex is always interested in potential acquisitions, the vast majority of its growth will come from continued upgrades and improvements in the company's gases sales and capabilities. Today, Middlesex has an overall gases-to-hardgoods ratio of 80/20, with three fill plants in Everett, Plainville, and Lowell, MA, and a fleet of 25 trucks. Plans are in the works to double the size of its Plainville facility in order to improve gas filling capabilities there.

Growth in the permacyl and bulk gases markets is high on Middlesex's priority list as well. Over the last ten years, Middlesex has invested in three Chart ORCA nitrogen trucks and one Chart ORCA argon truck. The nitrogen ORCA is used to fill permacyl and bulk units ranging from 1,000 liter permacyl vessels up to and including 6,000 gallon bulk tanks. The recent addition of a six-ton TOMCO2 built CO2 bulk truck will allow Middlesex to fill CO2 tanks up to six tons, with specific emphasis on targeting the biotech and pharma market. All of the company's permacyl and bulk units are monitored internally by telemetry, allowing Middlesex to provide top quality service to its customers.

The continued growth and investment in the specialty gases market is also a top priority for Middlesex. Filled out of its ISO 17025 accredited Everett facility, Middlesex's specialty gases lab is capable of filling medical calibration gases, UHP and high grade gases, and certified and primary standard mixes, as well as the standard industrial gases. All Middlesex cylinders are bar coded resulting in top quality cylinder control and service.

Middlesex Gases works hard to position itself to take advantage of growth opportunities as the economy of the Northeast shifts. Tom Martin sums up: "While we see the manufacturing sector in the northeast slowly rebounding, this relatively slow growth has been offset by the tremendous growth in the life sciences, biotech, and pharmaceutical markets. Whether supplying a startup or a large, well established company, the opportunities for growth in these markets are excellent. Due in part to the large number of top quality universities in Massachusetts, including Harvard and MIT, companies want to operate out of the Boston area to take advantage of the brain pool. The networking opportunities that exist within the cluster of so many companies in the greater Boston area also are incentive for companies to operate here. Lastly, the governor of Massachusetts announced the formation of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, calling for a $1 billion capital investment in the industry over a ten year period. As a result, Middlesex will continue to invest in the people and equipment necessary to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities in the ever growing life sciences, biotech, and pharma industries."

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