Air Products to invest $880m in China

Updated: 2011-12-16 14:13

By Gao Changxin (

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SHANGHAI - Air Products & Chemicals Inc, a US industrial gas producer, plans to invest up to $880 million in China next year as it seeks to ride on the country's energy efficiency drive.

Stephen Jones, Air Products' China president, disclosed the plan in a press conference in Shanghai on Thursday after unveiling two large-scale gas-processing plants in China.

One plant is on-site in a LED manufacturer in Anhui province, supplying 2,000 metric tons of ammonia annually.

The other plant in Shaanxi province is one of the world's biggest on-site air separation facilities, capable of producing 12,000 tons of oxygen every day.

The two new plants are among the 50 plus group of production facilities the company has set up in China since it entered the market in 1987.

Jones said China's plan to boost energy efficiency and reduce green gas emission offer Air Products the potential to maintain fast growth rate in the world's second biggest economy.

In 2009, China pledged to reduce carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, after realizing that high-energy consumption will make its economic growth unsustainable.

This year, the country specified its plan, saying carbon emissions for each unit of GDP will be cut by 17 percent by 2015 from 2010 levels.

The plan has made energy-guzzlers in China, including steelmakers and coal-fired power plants, scramble to reduce emissions to avoid having their business licenses revoked by the government. The plan also provides business opportunities for energy efficiency solution providers, including Air Products.

Jones said Air Products will bring its most advanced technologies, including those that can "capture" carbon dioxide, to China and help local companies reduce emissions.

Looking forward, Jones expects China's industrial gas market to increase by 19 percent annually, outgrowing the 9 percent global average growth. By 2015, China will account for 11 percent of the $96 billion global industrial gas market.

"China's a strategically important market for us. We will continue investing and growing our business here in China," said Jones.

In the financial year ended Oct 1, China contributed about $800 million of the company's 10.1 billion global sales.

As an indication of its fast growth in China, Air Products workforce tripled to about 2,400 this year from about 800 in 2003. Jones said hiring will keep pace in the future.