Airgas Drops After Chairman Sells 1.2 Million Shares

Airgas Inc. (ARG), the largest U.S. distributor of packaged gases, fell the most in two months after Chairman Peter McCausland sold about 15 percent of his stake in the company he founded 30 years ago.

Airgas, based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, dropped 2.7 percent to $87.99 at the close in New York, the most since Sept. 27.

McCausland, who built Airgas with almost 450 acquisitions since 1982, sold 1.2 million shares in a privately negotiated overnight block trade, retaining about 7 million shares, the company said today in a statement. The sale was in connection with tax planning matters and repayment of debt incurred to exercise stock options, Airgas said.

McCausland, 62, stepped down as chief executive officer in August to focus on strategy and acquisitions. He was succeeded by Michael L. Molinini, formerly Airgas chief operating officer.

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