Air Products has signed long-term contracts with two Chinese steel companies in Tangshan, Hebei Province.

The gas company will supply Tangshan Guo Feng Steel and Tangshan Fu Feng Steel\\$quot;s steel works gaseous oxygen, nitrogen and argon.

Air Products will build and operate a new large air separation plant in Tangshan to provide this supply. The plant, which is scheduled to come on-stream in late 2007, will be primarily built by Air Products' engineering and manufacturing centres in China. This will be the second Air Products air separation plant in Tangshan supplying to Guo Feng and Fu Feng.

Wilbur Mok, president of Air Products China, said: "These contracts reinforce our supply relationship with the two leading steel manufacturers in Northern China, and they underscore our customers' confidence in Air Products. The new plant will further strengthen our supply position in Tangshan, a major steel production centre in China."

Tangshan, a major industrial city in Hebei Province, is one of the largest steel production centres in China. Its annual steel production exceeds 30 million tons. China's steel production is growing at close to 20 per cent annually.