Air Liquide has recently scored a number of major successes in its sales of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

Use of these two gases is developing very strongly, both in chemicals and refining. The new contracts mark a new milestone in business growth in China.

In China, the Group has been present for over 10 years, and now has more than 800 employees there. Its strategy has been to focus development on geographical areas with strong potential (Shanghai, Guangdong, Beijing and Tianjin). The Group already has a significant presence in electronics, liquid gases and engineering. Air Liquide's human and technological resources and its plants are now on a similar scale to those at its disposal elsewhere in major developing markets.

Its subsidiary, Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Industrial Gases Company (SCIPIG), a 50/50 joint venture with Praxair, has won new contracts for the pipeline supply of large volumes of hydrogen and carbon monoxide to two major international petrochemical groups based in the Shanghai region. The contracts are scheduled to commence in the first half of 2006. To date, total investment in SCIPIG amounts to USD 120 million, making it a key player in the rapidly expanding Shanghai area.

"Hydrogen now accounts for about 400 million euros in sales and offers significant growth perspectives in all geographies," commented Benoit Potier, Chairman of the Management Board. "Asia, a region of the world where we have a strong presence, now represents 50% of our organic growth. These developments clearly demonstrate the success of two of our key strategic growth drivers, i.e. hydrogen and Asia."

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