Praxair China has entered into a new long-term agreement with Lianzhong (Guangzhou) Stainless Steel Corp. (Lianzhong) for the supply of oxygen, nitrogen and argon to its stainless steel works, which is under construction in the Guangzhou Economic and Technology Development Zone (GETDD).

Praxair China will build, own and operate a state-of-the-art air separation plant due for commissioning in the end of 2006 to supply high volumes of pipeline oxygen, nitrogen and argon to Lianzhong. The facility will provide a backup supply of merchant liquid products to the local market.

Invested by Taiwan-based Yieh United Steel Corp. (YUSCO), one of the largest integrated stainless steel mills in Southeast Asia and the world\\$quot;s 7th largest stainless steel producer, Lianzhong is China\\$quot;s first overseas-invested integrated stainless steel company. It will be the largest stainless producer in Southern China. The first phase of the project currently produces 300,000 tons per year of cold rolled stainless steel coils. Phase two, which will begin production in late 2006, will produce 800,000 tons of stainless steel slabs and hot rolled coils.

Praxair China president David Chow, said: \\$quot;This agreement is of great importance for the company. It reinforces our confidence in the economic development of China.

\\$quot;With six air separation units in Guangdong Province, Praxair will be the largest industrial gases operator in the region and will provide unequalled reliability to our customers. The supply to Lianzhong adds another leading industrial player to Praxair\\$quot;s portfolio of customers. It strengthens Praxair\\$quot;s position as the top supplier to the leaders of Chinese industry.\\$quot;