Air Liquide has completed the acquisition of St Petersburg-based Lentechgas, a leader in North West Russia with significant market share in bulk and packaged gases and a strong position in healthcare.

Russia’s North West region is the second largest in the country in terms of industrial production, and a key area for the Russian automotive, shipyard and food industries – fast growing markets that require increasing amounts of gases.

Also significant to the acquisition is the growing demand for medical gases in the area; the region accounts for around 10% of Russia’s total population and therefore, the market for medical gases is both significant and growing.

Air Liquide already has a cylinder activity in Saint Petersburg and the acquisition of the local leader will significantly expand its footprint in this region. The company will invest in a new state-of-the-art air separation unit with a production capacity of 200 tonnes per day of liquid oxygen and nitrogen, with overall investment in the facility amounting to around €40m.

Guy Salzgeber, Vice-President, North and Central Europe, and member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee, commented, “We are delighted to welcome these new employees into the Group. Russia is a growing economy in the process of modernising its industrial production infrastructure. Air Liquide is glad to take part in this new development.”

The acquisition boosts a growing footprint in Russia; Air Liquide operates seven industrial sites in key regions, with more than 700 employees supplying products and services to over 1,500 Russian and international customers. Over the last five years, Air Liquide has already committed to investing more than €350m in Russia.

Salzgeber reflected on the significance of Lentechgas in its overall impression in the country. “Following the acquisition of Logika in Moscow earlier in 2012,” he said, “this operation further strengthens our overall position in Russia. It illustrates our strategy of focusing geographic expansion on key growth regions.”

Lentechgas employs over 200 employees and its turnover exceeded €10m in 2011.