Investing in the rapidly growing Poland economy, Air Liquide has signed a new long-term contract with Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy S.A. (ZA Pulawy), a leading Polish company, for which the French gases company will build and operate two large ASU’s.

Together, the two new ASU’s will produce more than 1,200 tonnes of oxygen per day, with the first to be commissioned in early 2010. They will also produce large quantities of liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon to supply merchant gases to a variety of neighbouring industries.

Poland is one of the largest countries and economies in Central Europe, with all industrial markets enjoying high growth rates and many of these markets, such as chemicals, metals, automotive and food, requiring increasing amounts of industrial gases.

At present, the majority of the industrial gas production in Poland, including Air Liquide’s existing production, is concentrated in the south. In this context, Air Liquide has announced a global investment of approximately €100m which will expand Air Liquide’s geographical presence in Poland to meet the growing demands of the industrial gas market – with its deal with ZA Pulawy just the start of investment.

ZA Pulawy is located in central eastern Poland, 125km from Warsaw, specialising in the production of nitrogen fertilisers, caprolactam and melamine and CEO Pawel Jarczewski said, “I am pleased to have made the decision to select Air Liquide for ZA Pulawy’s first long term strategic partnership for the supply of industrial gases. The new ASUs are an important part of ZA Pulawy’s strategy and a key stage in expanding our ‘Oxygen– Ammonia – Urea’ production line.”

“Air Liquide is uniquely positioned to provide the most cost effective solution for our needs, and we are confident that its technological leadership will benefit us over the long term.”

Air Liquide has revealed it is also to make another important investment with a new liquefaction unit in northern Poland, set to be built close to Gdansk. As the first of its kind in northern Poland, the unit will produce 200 tpd of liquid nitrogen and oxygen and is also due for start-up in 2010. The investment reinforces Air Liquide’s already strong industrial base in Poland and supports its customers’ growing demands for industrial gases in the northern region.

Speaking of the newly announced investments, Guy Salzgeber, Vice-President European Industrial Operations and member of the Group’s Executive Committee, declared, “These investments in Poland allow us to support our customers’ growing demand in this dynamic area. They are part of the €10bn investment programme for the period 2007-2011 that the group is implementing and they represent an important milestone to accelerate our growth in Central and Eastern Europe.”