Airgas Inc., which sells gases and equipment to hospitals and industrial companies, said Friday that it is increasing prices on helium by 20 percent because it is costing it more to obtain and distribute the gas.
The company said the Bureau of Land Management, which supplies a significant portion of helium in the U.S., is charging helium refiners more for the gas. A spokesman from the Bureau of Land Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The price jump will take effect immediately, but Airgas said price increases may differ depending on market conditions or contract provisions.
"The costs of securing helium continue to increase," Airgas CEO Michael Molinini said in a statement. "In addition, supplier allocations and constantly changing supply and demand geographies are causing us to incur greater distribution expenses to move the product from where we receive it to where it is needed by our customers."
Helium, which is lighter than air, is used for everything from party balloons to MRI machines.
Shares of Airgas slipped 70 cents to $109.25 in morning trading Friday.