Ukraine: Long Term Agreement with the Steel Industry Leader

Ukraine is a key developing economy with a population of 46 million and with an attractive potential for developing an industrial gases business. It ranks 5th worldwide in terms of iron-ore reserves and metallurgy is one of Ukraine's most important and dynamic industrial sectors.

Air Liquide has just signed a long-term contract with EMZ, a subsidiary of Metinvest - the Ukrainian steel industry leader - to supply industrial gases to its iron and steel plant based in Yenakiyevo (Donetsk Oblast), South East of Ukraine.

Air Liquide will invest in a new state-of-the-art Air Separation Unit (ASU) with a production capacity of 1,700 tonnes per day of oxygen, nitrogen and argon. The ASU will be designed, built and operated by Air Liquide; the commissioning is planned mid-2014. Air Liquide will also supply liquid gases to other industries in the country.

Metinvest is a major steel group fully integrated vertically from iron-ore to steel and is the recognized mining and steel industry leader in Ukraine. It is already the 5th largest iron-ore producer in the world, and produces 14 million tons per year of crude steel. The Group comprises mining and steel production facilities located in Ukraine, in Europe and the USA and has a sales network covering all key global markets.

The overall Air Liquide investment is around Euros100 million and will be financed with the support of the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). It is the first time that a Ukrainian steel manufacturer has outsourced its industrial gases needs.

Igor Syry, CEO of Metinvest, said: "This project is one of the important steps in the implementation of the strategic development of Metinvest. In selecting Air Liquide as our partner, the world leader in the industrial gas market, we will benefit from their state of the art technologies and operational standards in environmental and safety performance. Metinvest will provide all the necessary assistance to help our partner grow and establish a sustainable business here in Ukraine. It is my belief that the success of this project will serve as a good example in the industrial development of Ukraine."

Guy Salzgeber, Vice President North and Central Europe and a member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee, commented: "We are greatly honored that Metinvest has chosen Air Liquide as its long term partner for this first outsourcing of their industrial gases. In addition to the investment of the new Air Separation Unit for Metinvest, Air Liquide plans to build up in Ukraine high level technical and operating expertise to support its long term development in this important market for industrial gases. This success in Ukraine illustrates our increasing development in this zone of Europe. Developing economies are one of the growth drivers of the Group."

Air Liquide is the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment, and is present in 80 countries with 43,600 employees. Oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and rare gases have been at the core of Air Liquide's activities since its creation in 1902. Using these molecules, Air Liquide continuously reinvents its business, anticipating the needs of current and future markets. The Group innovates to enable progress, to achieve dynamic growth and a consistent performance.

Innovative technologies that curb polluting emissions, lower industry's energy use, recover and reuse natural resources or develop the energies of tomorrow, such as hydrogen, biofuels or photovoltaic energy... Oxygen for hospitals, homecare, fighting nosocomial infections... Air Liquide combines many products and technologies to develop valuable applications and services not only for its customers but also for society.

A partner for the long term, Air Liquide relies on employee commitment, customer trust and shareholder support to pursue its vision of sustainable, competitive growth. The diversity of Air Liquide's teams, businesses, markets and geographic presence provides a solid and sustainable base for its development and strengthens its ability to push back its own limits, conquer new territories and build its future.

Air Liquide explores the best that air can offer to preserve life, staying true to its sustainable development approach. In 2010, the Group's revenues amounted to Euros13.5 billion, of which more than 80% were generated outside France. Air Liquide is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (compartment A) and is a member of the CAC 40 and Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 indexes.

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