AIR PRODUCTS BOOSTS STAKE IN PACIFIC RIM GAS MART

AIR PRODUCTS BOOSTS STAKE IN PACIFIC RIM GAS MART

Air Products & Chemicals is increasing its stake in the $4.3 billion Pacific Rim industrial gas market with the 45 percent equity purchase of a major producer in Taiwan, San Fu Chemical Co., according to a company spokeswoman.

The Pacific Rim region represents about a third of the global industrial gas market of $13 billion, the spokeswoman said.San Fu is the second largest industrial gas company in Taiwan with gas sales representing 60 percent of its approximately $20 million in annual sales volume. The balance is primariy food additives for the local market.

As a market for industrial gases, Taiwan is expected to grow rapidly and at rates above neighboring Pacific Rim countries, a company spokesman said. Company plans to expand San Fu's industrial gas business are under way, including a recently completed specialty gas facility in Chupei to serve the growing needs of the electronics industry. Additional opportunities in gases will follow as Taiwan enlarges its industrial base and attracts new

investments in steel, chemicals, and electronics manufacturing, the spokesman said.

Air Products is an internatonal supplier of industrial gases, process equipment and technology, and chemicals. The company has operations in 20 countries, including Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and China.

The company opened a specialty gas plant in Korea in 1987 and is involved in the first Western joint-venture in special gases in China, Chun Wang Industrial Gases. Air Products also amplified its technical services in Japan last year, where the company is pursuing a joint venture with Mitsui Petrochemical.