Air Liquide in brief

Air Liquide is a world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health. Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are essential small molecules for life, matter and energy. They embody Air Liquide’s scientific territory and have been at the core of the company’s activities since its creation in 1902.

Inventors of the future

Our ambition is to be a leader in our industry, to deliver long term performance and to contribute to a more sustainable world.

Through our positions in key markets of the future, we are at the heart of today's and tomorrow's challenges: energy and environmental transition, transformation of healthcare and technological progress. Our business expertise, our capacity for innovation, our proximity to our customers and patients, and the commitment and professionalism of our employees enable us to provide concrete solutions for the benefit of all our stakeholders and, beyond, of society.

A unique model

  • Long-term vision and clear strategy

  • Growth model combining financial performance and sustainable development

  • A wide variety of customers and applications

  • Strong involvement in the markets of the future

  • Global presence and local activities

  • Very strong capacity for innovation, in an open ecosystem

  • Long-term contracts, indexed to energy prices

  • Control and optimization of the production and distribution chain

A collective energy to serve our 3.8 million clients and patients

66,400 employees in 75 countries

committed on a daily basis to better listen to and serve our customers and patients

4,300 employees

dedicated to the development of new solutions, with our innovation partners (customers, universities, start-ups...)

2+ M industrial customers all over the world

Craftsmen, SMEs, ETIs, multinationals from sectors as varied as steel, energy, chemicals, car manufacturing, aeronautics, food processing or the pharmaceutical industry...

1.8+ M patients

that we support in hospitals and at home, alongside health professionals and structures

A unique expertise adapted to each of our activities

We are able to better understand the evolution of the markets we serve and to offer innovative and sustainable solutions that make a difference thanks to:

  • Our proximity to our customers, all over the world, which enables us to be as close as possible to their expectations
  • Our expertise in essential small molecules, which we are continually developing to offer new solutions
  • Our technological mastery, which enables us to provide concrete answers to the challenges of a changing world and to have a positive impact on society

Group performance

Innovation for sustainable growth

13,500 patents filed by the Group

For example, the patented Turbo-Brayton technology that is revolutionising maritime transport by reducing greenhouse gas emissions: 120,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent avoided in 2018-2019

€304 M of innovation spendings in 2021

100 million of which was dedicated to the energy transition

354 new patents filed in 2021

400+ partnerships

with clients, academic partners and start-ups around the world

Our history

1902-1913

1902

It all begins with an invention

The work of a tireless researcher and a business visionary come together. George Claude invents a process for liquefying air that separates oxygen and nitrogen by distillation, and his classmate and friend Paul Delorme gathers together 24 subscribers to support the industrial project. With share capital of 100,000 francs, the joint-stock company Air Liquide is born.
1906

Going global

Air Liquide quickly expands internationally. As gases are difficult to transport, the company builds local production plants. Expanding into Belgium in 1906 and Japan in 1907, followed by Spain and Italy in 1909, the Air Liquide crosses the Atlantic to establish plants in Canada in 1911 and the United States in 1916.
 
1913

Paris stock exchange listing

Stock exchange
It's the beginning of a story that continues to unfold to this day: a story about the strong and unique bond between Air Liquide and its shareholders. The latter who have played a critical role from the start in developing the company’s industrial and stock market successes.

1952-1962

1952

The cryogenic revolution

Low temperature physics offers new opportunities. Storing gas in liquid form in cryogenic tanks allows vast quantities to be transported by road or rail from a single location. A single example: after vaporization, one liter of liquid oxygen produces 850 liters of oxygen gas.
 
1962

The start of the space adventure

Sassenage
Jean Delorme, then Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, decides to create a research center near Grenoble dedicated to cryogenics. Its first applications emerge in the space industry with equipment integrated in orbit launch systems, launch vehicles and launch pads.
 
And many new challenges remain: electric propulsion, more competitive launch vehicles, satellite constellations, life in space... The story continues!
 

1985-2000

1985

The rise of the electronics market

Electronic devices gradually spread throughout the world. By relying on its tradition of innovation, Air Liquide embarks on joining this new market. In Japan, the Group starts to supply ultra-high purity gases to the semiconductor industry.
1995

Serving the healthcare sector

Already an oxygen supplier to hospitals, Air Liquide becomes a specialist in the healthcare sector as it launches its Home Healthcare activity. Medical gases become medications, requiring market authorizations. Research programs in therapeutic gases, used for resuscitation and pain relief, are also launched.
1995

Expanding our offering

smr
In addition to oxygen and nitrogen, Air Liquide extends its offering to include hydrogen and steam. As with air gases, the offering relies on a basin strategy based on a flexible and reliable pipeline network (the Group being active in the U.S. Gulf Coast, Benelux and Germany).
2000

Massive investments in China

At the dawn of the new millennium, China becomes a country of major growth for industrial gases. Air Liquide makes significant investments and concludes significant contracts.

2007-2015

2007

Acquisition of Lurgi

Lurgi
Acquiring the engineering company Lurgi brings major proprietary technologies to Air Liquide, particularly in the field of hydrogen and carbon monoxide production.
2008

Resilience in an unprecedented crisis

Facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions, the Group focuses its efforts on the management of its cash, costs, and investments (capital expenditures). Testing the strength of its long-term contracts, Air Liquide demonstrates how well its business model works. Net profit remains stable and the balance sheet solid. In a context of global recession, Air Liquide stands out as an exception.
2013

New focus on open innovation

Air Liquide demonstrates its commitment to fostering open innovation through two initiatives. ALIAD, the Group’s venture capital subsidiary makes minority equity investments in innovative technology start-ups, while the i-Lab (short for innovation Lab) serves as a think tank and experimental research lab.
2015

The road to hydrogen mobility

Hydrogen energy begins taking off as a real solution to the environmental challenges facing mobiliy. Notably, Air Liquide builds hydrogen fueling stations around the world, in countries like France, Germany, Japan, and the United States.

2016-2020

2016

Airgas: a major acquisition

Airgas employee
The United States of America is home to the largest industrial gas market in the world. By acquiring Airgas, Air Liquide strengthens its position by integrating complementary activities that span the entire domestic market.
2016

Launching the NEOS company program

A few months after acquiring Airgas, Air Liquide unveils its 2016-2020 company program: NEOS. The strategy is clear: a customer-centric transformation to ensure profitable growth in the long-term. It relies on four pillars: operational excellence, quality investments, open innovation, and a network organization.
2017

Refocusing on the Gas & Services businesses

As part of NEOS, the Group separates from its Air Liquide Welding (welding equipment and consumables) and Aqua Lung (diving) businesses in order to focus on its Gas & Services businesses.
2017

The Birth of the Hydrogen Council

Founded by 13 international companies, including Air Liquide, the Hydrogen Council intends to position hydrogen as a key solution to the energy transition. To reach this goal, the Council promotes collaboration among governments, industrial actors and investors. Since its founding, many companies have joined the initiative.
 
2018

Climate objectives

Climate objectives
As part of its commitment to sustainable growth through limits on its CO2 emissions and those of its customers, Air Liquide announces its climate objectives, some of the most ambitious in its sector. They consist of reducing its carbon intensity by 30% between 2015 and 2025 through a global approach that includes its assets, its customers, and its ecosystems.
2018

Inauguration of the Paris Innovation Campus

Paris Innovation Campus
Located in the Saclay area (south of Paris) since 1970, the Group’s flagship of innovation is completely reimagined. It strives to be customer-centric, open to Innovation ecosystems, and conducive to collaboration, in particular by welcoming Accelair, a deep tech start-up accelerator.
 
In addition to Paris, the Group has Innovation Campuses in Frankfurt (Germany), Shanghai (China), Tokyo (Japan), and Delaware (United States), as well as a Campus Technologies in Grenoble (France).
2019

Hydrogen on all fronts

An early player in the hydrogen market, Air Liquide strengthens its position by acquiring a stake in Hydrogenics Corporation, a Canadian company that produces hydrogen by electrolysis. The Group launches the construction of the largest membrane-based electrolyzer in the world in Bécancourt.
 
Other initiatives launched include steel (producing low-carbon steel by injecting hydrogen as a replacement for coal) and hydrogen mobility in California (producing and liquefying carbon-free hydrogen by using biomethane).
 
2020

Responding to the pandemic

Confronted with an unprecedented public health crisis, Air Liquide’s Healthcare teams are mobilized to tackle an increased demand for medical oxygen, to guarantee the supply of equipment for hospitals, and to monitor patients at home.
 
Against the backdrop of a global economic and public health crisis, Air Liquide demonstrates its resilience. This crisis also highlights the importance of Air Liquide’s activities to society, as well as the commitment of its employees.