BOC's newest Midwest partner is a privately owned retailer of welding equipment, safety supplies and industrial, medical and speciality gases serving both large manufacturers and smaller operations.

It now joins BOC's nationwide 130 strong distributor network and company president Steve Christoph, is excited about the future, exclaiming, $quot;We're looking forward to taking advantage of BOC's ideas for growing our small bulk business and to the training programmes BOC offers distributors. Training is a priority for our employees - we stay up to date on all the new technology so we are qualified to work on all the welding equipment we sell.$quot;

The move comes as BOC expands its Midwest operation with the upcoming opening of a new ASU in Beloit, Wisconsin. The plant is expected to begin operating in 2007 and should produce over 700tpd of liquid oxygen and nitrogen, distributing to both local industry and to distributors such as Superior.

John MacRitchie, BOC's Midwest region vice-president was also happy with the new agreement saying, $quot;We are thrilled to have Superior join our growing family of distributors as we extend our capabilities and market presence in Iowa. BOC's new plant will strengthen our supply capability throughout the entire Midwest and will enable us to help customers like Superior meet their businesses' changing and growing demands.$quot;

Superior have also chosen to join BOC's Airco Distributor Association (ADA) which will allow them access to the buying group's leverage and purchase power. The ADA has 98 independent members and accounts for $1b in annual purchases.