Air Liquide SA’s $10.3 billion takeover of rival Airgas Inc. gives the European company a leading share of the U.S. market in industrial gases amid forecasts of further construction and manufacturing growth.

The $143-a-share cash offer, which represents a 50 percent premium to the 20-day average price before Tuesday’s announcement, comes four years after Airgas fought off a hostile bid that was about half the value. The deal validates Airgas founder and Chairman Peter McCausland’s strategy of acquiring hundreds of smaller companies over three decades to form the largest U.S. supplier of gases used in welding and health care.

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