In light of today\\$quot;s announcement that BOC\\$quot;s Group board will recommend the Linde offer to acquire the company, Spiritus has today issued its latest analysis on the worldwide gases business. The analysis shows that the global industrial gases business has reached $49 Bn (€39.5 Bn) in 2005, a rise of 10% over 2004.

Growth in the industry was strong and driven by higher natural gas pricing, currency gains and continued M&A activity. More importantly, the underlying growth remained strong (+5%).

Chart 1 presents the market share of the gases business by the major gas companies for subsidiary undertakings only. French based Air Liquide has dominated the market for a number of years and remained the largest gas company in 2005.

US based Praxair is the second largest gas company followed by Linde Gas. Analysed on a similar basis, BOC is smaller than both Linde and Air Products. Other Tier 1 gas companies (>$1 Bn in gas revenues) include Airgas and Japanese based Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation.

Market Influence 2005
Note: Assumes equity affiliate business on a 100% basis and Tier1:Tier1 jvs on 50:50 basis
Source: Spiritus Consulting///

However, if the joint ventures and equity affiliates of the various Tier 1 gas companies are taken into account, both BOC and Air Products increase their market share because each company has significant business tied up in equity affiliates and joint ventures. The results of the additional analysis are shown in Chart 2 showing the market influence the major gas companies have within the industrial gases business.