Air Liquide has signed a bumper contract to supply the gas needs of India's first foray into semiconductor production.

While India already has a high profile for software and chip design, the manufacturing of integrated circuits has not been explored and should have huge potential for growth. To encourage this growth last February, the government officially announced the semiconductor policy, with special incentive packages to attract investors.

On the back of this encouragement the recently created Indian company HSMC (Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), has now announced a massive investment in the first 200m fab in India. Furthermore HSMC directors announced they have brokered a deal with Air Liquide to provide all gases, gas and chemical distribution systems and related services in the high tech park.

Dr Verma, chairman of HSMC, commented, I am excited to start this project with Air Liquide, a leading gas supplier to the electronics industry worldwide. This partnership is the result of many months of work and mutual trust between our two companies.$quot; This enthusiasm was echoed by Christophe Fontaine, vice-president Electronics, Air Liquide Group, who said, $quot;We are very honoured and proud to have been selected by HSMC as a key partner for all ultra-pure gases and related solutions. We are at the beginning of a new adventure in India.$quot;

However, this is not the groups only involvement in Indian manufacturing, since 1992, Air Liquide has had two activities operating in India: The Engineering and Construction division to design and install Air Separation Units (ASUs), and the Gas division with units supplying oxygen, nitrogen, argon and hydrogen mainly dedicated to steel, automobile, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, glass and other industrial markets. Located in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Vadodara, Air Liquide India employs nearly 300 people with sales in 2006 of around €30m