Praxair, Inc. and the Al Khaled family of Kuwait have entered into definitive agreements for Praxair to acquire 49% ownership interests in the ROC Group’s existing industrial gases businesses operating in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

The deal, which appears to afford Praxair a significant foothold in the blossoming industrial gases market in the Middle East, has been announced in the last few days.

Affirming this foothold, Scott Telesz, Senior Vice President for Praxair, Inc., commented, $quot;The ROC Group has strong market positions in the Gulf region. Praxair’s operational expertise, on-site plant capabilities and technology offerings will contribute to a solid partnership in the region, a key strategic area of economic expansion and industrialisation.”

The ROC Group has long been recognised as one of the leading independent producers and distributors of industrial gases in the Middle East with operations in 12 countries.

In 2009, the newly acquired businesses in Kuwait, UAE and Qatar generated annual sales of approximately $80m. The joint venture resulting from Praxair’s share purchase will have its headquarters in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

High expectations
Just as enthusiastic is Al Hareth Al Khaled, Managing Director of the ROC Group, who described the high hopes at the heart of such a significant partnership.

“Both the ROC Group and Praxair have high expectations to develop and expand the joint venture’s industrial gas activities through advanced gas applications,$quot; he explained.

$quot;We are now in a unique position to combine our respective strengths and seize new business opportunities and are eminently placed to meet the needs and challenges of demanding market requirements.$quot;

ROC produces and markets a full line of industrial and medical gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, acetylene, argon, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, mixture gas, with consolidated business in the trading of refrigerant gases, liquid ammonia, chlorine, welding/cutting equipment and industrial safety products in the Middle East.

Prime installation facilities, combined with experienced management and production personnel, have resulted in consistently high quality products. Later this year, ROC will also celebrate its 50th anniversary of providing high-quality, reliable service in the region.

Praxair meanwhile is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2009 sales of $9bn.