New investments in Portugal

February 20, 2007

Portugal has a long tradition in the chemical industry, presently consisting of around 850 operating companies spanning petrochemical refineries and the supply of basic products, to higher value added special chemicals. The Portuguese chemical industry has a turnover of 4,100 million euros representing around 3,5% of national GDP and employing 22,500 people. Around 90% of the chemical industry’s turnover and workforce are concentrated in the regions of Porto, Lisbon, and Sines benefiting from top R&D infrastructure and large-scale supply capacity and transport for liquid and bulk exports.

Within this context, Air Liquide has achieved another commercial success with the renewal and expansion of its agreements with The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and CUF in Estarreja, 50 km south of Porto, for a period of 15 years. All three industrial partners will invest a total of 230 million euros to expand their operations in Estarreja.

Air Liquide has undertaken to deliver around 4,000 Nm³/hour of carbon monoxide and 15,000 Nm³/hour of hydrogen from a new unit dedicated to serving Dow’s MDI and CUF’s aniline production needs respectively. Aniline, among other applications, serves as feedstock for the production of MDI, a material used for the manufacture of rigid foams, coatings, adhesives, etc.

This investment is another example of Dow’s commitment to the MDI industry, our customers and Portugal. In addition, the new agreement with Air Liquide and CUF further strengthens our relationship as we continue to invest in the Estarreja facility,” stated Steven English, business director for Dow Isocyanates.

This agreement is a win for companies that have successfully worked together over a period of years and contributes to the growth of the national petrochemical industry. It is why the CUF Group welcomes the signing of this agreement with Air Liquide and Dow declared Joäo de Mello, President of CUF Portugal.

Klaus Schmieder, Senior executive Vice-President of the Air Liquide Group, stated: These successes in Portugal illustrate our teams’ ability to build long-term relationships based on proximity with our customers and our capacity to provide technological solutions. These new investments are further proof of the Group’s commitment to pursue its growth strategy in this dynamic business sector in Europe.

Dow began its operations in Estarreja in 1978, where it produces MDI and polyester foam for thermal insulation. Dow Portugal has over 100 employees and a turnover in excess of 130 million euros in 2006.

CUF is a major chemical Portuguese group with more than 1,000 employees in several industrial basins in Portugal, Spain and Morocco, producing aniline, chlorine and other chemical products in Estarreja.

Air Liquide Portugal has 310 employees, serves more than 30,000 customers in the Industrial and Healthcare sectors and had a turnover of over 100 million euros in 2006. Present in Portugal since 1923, Air Liquide Portugal started its activity in Estarreja in 1989.

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