Praxair, Inc., Danbury, Conn., entered into an agreement to acquire NuCO2 INC. from Aurora Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, for $1.1 billion Praxairin cash. The transaction is subject to customary conditions to closing, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

NuCO2 is a Stuart, Fla.-based provider of beverage carbonation solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industries with 162,000 customer locations and 900 employees. The business is expected to generate full year sales in 2013 of about $250 million and EBITDA of about $115 million. The acquisition is expected to be neutral-to-slightly accretive to Praxair’s 2013 earnings per share. The NuCO2 micro-bulk beverage carbonation solutions are more cost effective than conventional high-pressure cylinders and are more reliable and less labor intensive for the customer.

“NuCO2 offers a compelling value proposition for beverage carbonation,” says Eduardo Menezes, executive vice president of Praxair. “We plan to continue to grow the business in the United States, enhance distribution efficiency utilizing Praxair’s competencies in logistics and extend NuCO2’s offerings to customers in other regions of the world.”