Just prior to moving into 2010, Japan Air Gases (JAG) announced that it would be making a number of organisational changes, as well as increasing the price of its helium.

The changes were made ‘to support the vision of Japan Air Gases that was expressed last year (2008)’ and include the reinforcement of the company’s regional sales organization.

For its gases operations, JAG is creating four regional sales areas located in East Japan, Chubu, Kansai and West Japan, replacing the previous 10-region sales structure – enabling both a sustained local presence and a cost-effective, added-value network.

JAG is also reinforcing its business divisions (Electronics, Industrial Merchant, Large Industry and Healthcare), which will have increased responsibility ‘both in business development and production and supply chain’.

Francois Jackow, President of JAG, commented on the new organisation and said in a statement, “With the globalisation and the recent economic crisis, more and more changes are impacting Japan. As part of the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment, the Air Liquide Group, we need to proactively transform our organisation to deliver value, innovation and efficiency to our customers and partners in Japan.”

“This new organisation is one step to support our vision and will give our employees more opportunities to better serve our customers. In advance I would like to thank all of our customers and partners for your continuous support in this transition phase preparing the future.”

In terms of the other change announced by the company, JAG and fellow group companies Air Liquide Japan, Ltd. and Air Liquide Kogyo Gas Ltd. have decided to revise the sales price of helium gas.

Effective as of 1st January 2010, the companies revealed in a joint statement that they would be raising the price of helium by more than 15% - reflecting the spiralling cost to procure gases themselves.

Applicable to ‘all kinds of helium gas’, the Air Liquide companies noted that Japan is entirely dependent for its supply on imports from the US and Middle East and cost pass-throughs to the customer cannot be avoided.