Air Liquide has recently revealed its first acquisition in the homecare and hospital markets, taking over Celki International and serving as a base for expansion in China as well as demonstrating strong global growth.

A global manufacturer and developer of industrial and medical gases and related services, Air Liquide was enabled to enter the UK hospital and homecare markets through its acquisition of Linde UK last May.

The purchase of Celki, a company established in Hong Kong and the south of China, will serve as a vehicle to drive the company forward in the emerging markets, identifying and seizing upon opportunities in the new homecare market in China.

Commenting on the purchase and other acquisitions made in Germany of late, Jean-Marc de Royere, senior vice president in charge of the Healthcare World Business Line and member of the Executive Committee of the group, said, $quot;These acquisitions illustrate the strategy for homecare decided in 2005, by strengthening our European bases and preparing for establishment in emerging markets. Our experience of integrating acquired companies in our network has been very positive to date and we fully expect this progress to continue.$quot;

In Germany, Air Liquide has become a significant force in the homecare market with the acquisition of five regional companies located in Bavaria and the Berlin area and a total of nine such acquisitions in Germany in the past 18 months.