Air Water (AWI) has reported a consolidated operating income for its first quarter of $42,7m, 9.7 per cent up over the same period last year, and ordinary income of $47,3m, 11.1 per cent up, on net sales of $848,2m, 17.3 per cent up.

Net income for the first quarter was $25,8m, a year-on-year increase of 34 per cent. These results reflect strong growth in the company\\$quot;s industrial business and chemical business groups on the back of brisk production and active capital spending throughout Japan\\$quot;s domestic manufacturing industry.

AWI said: "The industrial business group continued to be the primary driving force behind the company\\$quot;s financial results as it maintained high levels of industrial gas supplies to the steel industry and other major users."

The chemical business group enjoyed brisk sales in the basic chemicals sector as a result of tight demand-supply conditions and of high oil prices and sales of electronic materials, pharmaceutical intermediates and other fine chemical products also grew smoothly.