November 10, 2004 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products (NYSE:APD) and Air Liquide have signed a long-term contract with Beijing BOE Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd. (BOE OT) to supply bulk gases to its newest manufacturing facility in the Beijing Economic Technological Development Area (BDA). BOE is a leading TFT-LCD (Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display) manufacturer both within and outside China.
Air Products and Air Liquide will form a 50/50 joint venture to build and operate a new air separation unit (ASU) in BDA. Slated to come on-stream in the second half of 2005, this facility will have the capacity to produce 12,000 cubic meters per hour of ultra pure nitrogen for pipeline supply to BOE OT and approximately 430 tons per day of liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon for the merchant market. Furthermore, the joint venture will have the capacity and the right to supply bulk gases via pipeline to other customers in BDA.
The joint venture will invest about US$30 million to build the air separation unit.
"The long-term agreement with BOE OT in Beijing has further strengthened our position as a leading supplier to the flat panel market," said Corning Painter, Air Products' vice president, Asia Electronics. "We are continuing to steadily invest in our Asian infrastructure to meet growing customer demand throughout the region. We're excited about the opportunities in China and look forward to our investment in the Beijing Economic Technological Development Area."
The TFT-LCD market has continued to grow year-over-year at more than a 30 percent rate, outpacing the growth being experienced by the silicon semiconductor industry. TFT-LCDs are commonly used for flat panel screens in televisions, computer monitors, cell phones, personal organizers and other electronic devices. Air Products is a leading supplier to the TFT-LCD and semiconductor markets in Asia, as well as a market leader in supplying specialty and bulk gases to flat panel markets in Korea and Taiwan. Approximately 45 percent of Air Products' Electronics sales are generated in Asia.
Air Products is one of the first foreign industrial gas companies to enter China with a joint venture in 1987 and has established a solid infrastructure in Northern, Southern and Eastern China. The company recently announced an expansion to its existing ASU facility in Guangzhou, making it the largest single production facility of liquefied products in China and one of the largest that Air Products operates worldwide.
With annual revenues of US$1.1 billion including affiliates in Asia, Air Products has over 4,400 employees, and a significant and growing presence in the region with locations in nine countries.
About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment and is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good Indices. The company has annual revenues of $7.4 billion, operations in over 30 countries, and nearly 20,000 employees around the globe. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.
***NOTE: This release may contain forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary materially, due to changes in current expectations.