Praxair (China) Investment Co. Ltd. has signed a long-term supply agreement with Nanjing-based Meishan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the Baosteel Group, under which Praxair China will build two new air separation plants to come on line in the fourth quarter of 2009 and third quarter of 2010.

The new plants will supply oxygen, nitrogen and argon to meet growing demand as Meishan Steel increases its production capacity. The two air separation plants will have a total capacity about 60,000 cubic meters of oxygen per hour once on-stream and will be added to three other Praxair air separation units currently being operated by the Praxair Shanghai Meishan joint venture.

Meishan Steel is growing rapidly with its parent company, towards Baosteel’s goal of becoming one of the top steel makers worldwide – and Praxair China has played its part in this drive for success, having supplied gases to Baosteel Co. Ltd. and Meishan Steel for over a decade.

“We’re honoured to play a continuing role in supporting the growth and success of this world-class steel enterprise in China,” said David Chow, President of Praxair China.

Financial details of the contract were not disclosed, but the deal continues the long-running relationship between Meishan Steel and Praxair China, a leading industrial gas provider in China and headquartered in Shanghai.