Praxair is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding as well as its 15th year as a publicly-traded corporation.

The original company was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1907, where it built North America's first commercial cryogenic oxygen plant. In its early days, it played a pioneering role in the development and growth of the oxyacetylene welding process in the United States industry.

Since becoming a publicly traded New York stock exchange company in 1992, Praxair's market value has grown from $2.15bn to $20bn. Its total shareholder return has averaged 17.7 percent every year since then.

Steve Angel, president and chief executive officer of Praxair, said: $quot;Today Praxair announced 2006 sales of $8.3bn, the highest in the company's history.$quot;

$quot;Praxair is beginning its second century with a truly solid financial performance and we have a pipeline of new projects that will contribute to our earnings growth and momentum through the end of this decade,$quot; Angel added.