Eastern Europe: acceleration of development to support key growing markets

March 5, 2008

Eastern Europe is a fast developing region with strong double digit growth rates. Many markets, such as Metals, automotive and shipyard are expanding quickly and require substantial quantities of industrial gases. Air Liquide has increased its presence in this region to meet the needs of large international clients and to reinforce its capacity to deliver innovative industrial gas solutions to these key markets.

In the Metals market, Air Liquide has just signed in Hungary, a 15 year contract with its customer DAM, a subsidiary of the Ukrainian Donbass Group, one of the major steel producers in the world. Air Liquide will install and operate an on-site unit to supply oxygen, to be commissioned mid-2008 in Miskolc, north-east Hungary. The Group has also signed, in Bulgaria, a new 15 year contract with its customer Cumerio, to supply oxygen to its copper smelting plant at Pirdop, 80km east of Sofia. Air Liquide now owns and operates all the existing air separation units on the site, with a combined capacity of 800 tonnes per day of oxygen, making it one of the largest in the country.

To support the Automative market, Air Liquide Hungary recently commissioned an on-site unit in Győr to supply nitrogen for DANA Hungary, a subsidiary of one of the world’s leading automotive parts suppliers. In the same sector, the Group recently signed in Poland two new long term contracts with Timken and Delphi for the on-site supply of nitrogen. Timken is located in Sosnowiec, near Katowice, and manufactures bearings for the automotive industry. Delphi’s facility in Ostrów Wielkopolski manufactures and assembles various automotive parts and components. Both on-site units will be commissioned in mid-2008.

For the Shipyard industry, Air Liquide has just commissioned in Romania, a new 1,000 tonnes/year acetylene unit to supply Aker Yards in Braila under a 10 year contract. Aker Yards Braila is one of the major shipyards in south-eastern Romania, located on the Danube close to the Black Sea. This unit is also supplying Aker Yards Tulcea, also on the Danube, as well as other customers in the region.

Investments to support key markets in the region reached €70 million in 2007.

Guy Salzgeber, Vice-President European Industrial Business and member of the Executive Committee, Air Liquide Group, commented: We are actively developing our activities in the strongly growing markets of Eastern Europe. The recent contracts signed illustrate well the Group’s growth strategy in this part of the world addressing in particular important manufacturing industries such as metals, automotive or shipyards. Given the future perspectives of these Eastern Europe markets, we intend to continue increasing our investments in the years to come.