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Major successes for Air Liquide Engineering activities in China

Emerging Asian countries, especially China, are fast growing geographies where the Air Liquide Group intends to boost its future development based on technological know-how and customer proximity. The Group is already present in high potential industrial areas and intends to invest around 500 million euros in China over the next five years.

Air Liquide Hangzhou (ALHZ), its Chinese Engineering centre, was founded in 1995 to design and manufacture cutting edge production plants for the Group and for third parties in China and abroad. In 2004, ALHZ, which now has more than 300 employees, signed many contracts with local and international customers for a total of about 150 million euros.

This success story was recently illustrated and reinforced by the signing of a new contract with Anshan Iron & Steel Group Corporation. Under the terms of this contract, Air Liquide which had previously been chosen by Anshan to provide three air separation plants, will supply another three new air separation units (ASUs) with a capacity of 35,000m3 /h of oxygen each, at the Ying Kou site. Ying Kou is an important port North of Beijing, in the Liaoning Province. The commissioning of these units is due end 2006. These large volumes of oxygen will be injected in the blast furnaces and converters which enables faster combustion, higher temperatures and greater efficiency.

Steel production is rising rapidly, mostly in China which now represents 30% of worldwide steel production, making it a key country for the Group’s success in this market. Anshan group is one of the leading state-owned steel manufacturers in China and ranks as the ninth largest steel producer worldwide.

“In total, Anshan has ordered six ASUs from Air Liquide within the last four years” said François Darchis, member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee. “We feel honoured by its ongoing confidence in the competence and dedication of our Hangzhou teams. Our Engineering Centre definitely proves to be a strong competitive advantage in our success in Asia at large and in China in particular.”

In order to be closer to customers and more effectively meet local needs, Air Liquide has six Engineering & Construction centres worldwide : France, USA, Japan, Russia/Ukraine, India and China with a total of 1,200 employees. This activity generated consolidated sales of 277 million euros in 2004 representing growth of +11.8% compared to 2003.