Growth in the Middle East: new investments in 3 countries

August 30, 2010

The Middle East economies continue to grow, generating many different needs for industrial gases. Air Liquide, the world-leading Group in the Middle East, continues its development. In order to support its customers from the steel sector in this growth area, the Group is investing in new production units, representing a total investment of almost €60 million.

In Egypt, in the industrial zone of Sadat City, midway between Cairo and Alexandria, the Group has signed a new long term contract with the steel manufacturer EZZ for their supply of gaseous oxygen. A production unit with a capacity of 110 tonnes per day of gaseous oxygen will be commissioned at the end of 2011 and will enable the customer to increase its production of steel for long products.

In Qatar, through its subsidiary GASAL, the Group has signed a new long term contract with Qatar Steel. Within this framework, a new oxygen production unit will be added to the existing two, bringing the total production capacity on this site to 650 tonnes of oxygen per day. This unit will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2012.

Furthermore, the Group has begun activities in Syria with its first unit in the country. An oxygen production unit with a capacity of 200 tonnes per day, dedicated to the steel producer Medsteel, has just been commissioned in the new industrial city of Adraa, near Damascus. This unit, which also produces liquid nitrogen and argon, will contribute to supply the industrial gases market throughout the Levant region.

Pierre Dufour, Senior Executive Vice-President of the Air Liquide Group responsible for the Middle East region, declared: "Air Liquide is proud to meet the growing needs of its customers and accompany them in their geographical expansion. Today, the Group has a unique strategic position in the Middle East which generates significant growth. The emerging economies are one of the Group’s growth drivers."

Air Liquide in the Middle East

Air Liquide is present in Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, where the Group has its Middle East headquarters.

For 5 years now, the Group has opened production sites in close proximity to its customers in promising industrial basins. The development of distribution equipment and the laying of a pipeline network have followed these investments. This growth, based on the technological reliability of Air Liquide's solutions, has been complemented by strategic acquisitions in this zone.

With 600 employees in the Middle East, Air Liquide has invested around 500 million dollars over the 2002-2009 period and it will invest an additional one billion dollars in the Arabian Gulf region over the next five years.

The Large Industries business line of Air Liquide

offers gas and energy solutions that improve process efficiency and help achieve greater respect for the environment, mainly to the refining and natural gas, chemicals, metals and energy markets.

2009 revenues were € 3,219 million.