Air Liquide is moving into a new phase in South-East Asia having acquired shares in four joint-venture companies as part of the deal announced Tuesday giving Linde Group complete control of jointly owned Malaysia Oxygen.

The deal gives the Paris based group 50 percent of Soxal (subsidiary in Singapore), of which it already owns 50 percent - 50 percent of EIG (subsidiary in Thailand) of which it already owns 50 percent, - 50 percent of VIG (subsidiary in Vietnam) of which it already owns 50 percent, - 25 percent of Brunox (subsidiary in the Sultanate of Brunei) of which it already owns 25 percent.

A local partner, QAF Investment, holds the rest of the capital. The combined total revenue of these four companies is approximately 230 million euros.

In addition to Malaysia Oxygen Air Liquide will also sell its 50 percent holding in Hong Kong Oxygen, based in Hong Kong and with a Chinese partner in the Canton region. On this basis, Linde will receive the sum of around 275 million euros. However, all of these transactions are subject to the approval of the anti-trust authorities.

Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide explained, $quot;These acquisitions enable us to significantly reinforce our positions in South-East Asia and capitalize on growth in economies clustered around the industrial hub of Singapore.$quot; Indeed, Air Liquide are no strangers to the Asian market and have been operating in Singapore since 1917 through Far East Oxygen, an entity that was later integrated into Soxal (Singapore Oxygen Air Liquide).

Soxal is the national leader for the Singaporean industry and is often recognised for its high levels of expertise. Its main business focus is supplying gas and services to numerous semiconductor manufacturing facilities as well as petrochemical facilities.

In Thailand, EIG (Eastern Industrial Gases) is particularly active in the province of Chonburi, near the Map Ta Phut petrochemical complex, approximately 80km southeast of Bangkok. Its production units supply oxygen and nitrogen via pipeline to major customers in the glass and chemical industries

VIG (Vietnam Industrial Gases) is the market leader in the northern part of the country, in the Hanoi region and is developing rapidly in both the north and the south, in the region around Ho Chi Minh City.

Soxal, present in the Sultanate of Brunei since 1974, created Brunox (Brunei Oxygen) in 1983. This joint venture with a local partner has industrial gas operations that are currently focused on the petroleum exploration and production sectors.

Once these acquisitions are completed, Air Liquide will wholly own the equity of its subsidiaries in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

In a statement Benoit Poitier also commented that this was not a new move for the group, but rather the culmination of long-term efforts saying, $quot;Our strategy has also led us to increase our presence in Japan considerably in recent years, doubling our market share. We are also accelerating our penetration of the Chinese market through a dual approach based on gas sales and engineering. Together, these steps have enabled the Group to take the leadership position in this part of the world.$quot;