Industrial gases giant Air Liquide has announced plans to invest more than €10bn over the next four years to accelerate sales growth to an annual average to 8-10 percent during this period.

The investment, which will largely be in the emerging markets, involves buying back up to 2.5 percent of its share capital per year as part of its programme to accelerate business development through 2011.

The company will issue bonds to finance the new growth strategy, a move which it is thought could increase its net debt-to-equity ratio to around 80 percent.