Reflecting the company's strong balance sheet and growing free-cash-flow generation from operations, the board of directors of Praxair Inc. has authorised the repurchase of up to $1bn of its common stock.

The share repurchases are expected to be completed over the next 2 years and may take place from time to time on the open market or through negotiated transactions, subject to market and business conditions.

Steve Angel, chairman and chief executive officer, commented, $quot;This share repurchase program reflects the confidence we have in the long-term growth prospects for our business, and our commitment to increasing shareholder value. Our first priority will continue to be investing in profitable growth projects; however due to our high return on capital, we expect to generate increasing levels of cash flow.$quot;

The agreed repurchases will be financed by available cash and debt and replaces the current repurchase program which has been in effect since 1997, with the board of directors also declaring a quarterly dividend of 30 cents per share payable to shareholders on 17th September 2007.