July 21, 2008

Linde Begins Construction on Australian Helium Plant

The Linde Group, a world leader in the production and supply of helium, through its Australian subsidiary, BOC, has begun construction on Australia's first helium plant, located in Darwin, Northern Territory.

This will be the first helium plant in the southern hemisphere, supplying all of Australia's domestic helium needs as well providing capacity for export to New Zealand and to Asian markets. Linde's Darwin plant will produce some 150 million cubic feet a year of helium - enough to meet 3 percent of the world's helium demand.

When the plant begins operating in July 2009, its production will replace helium currently coming to Australia from the United States and Middle East. It will be the world's first new helium source in three years.

"Helium is produced at a small number of sources around the world and is shipped globally," said Steve Penn, head of global helium, Linde. "Helium demand has increased most in Asia, with steady demand growth forecasted for at least the next five years. With global supply expected to remain tight for the foreseeable future, having a new Asia-Pacific helium source is good news not only for this region but for the entire world."

Helium, a non-renewable resource, is extracted from natural gas. Linde has a long-term contract with the Darwin liquefied natural gas plant to extract, purify and liquefy the helium for shipment to customers.

Helium's unique properties are useful in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications. Helium gas is used in welding, leak detection and the manufacture of semiconductors, as well as for liquid crystal displays and fiber optic cable, plus for lighter-than-air applications such as blimps and balloons. Liquid helium, at -452 degrees Fahrenheit (- 269 degrees Celsius), is one of the coldest substances known to man, making it useful for superconducting processes such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Linde operates one of the world's largest helium refining facilities in Otis, Kansas, and also has access to helium produced from other U.S. sources as well as from Poland, Russia, Algeria and Qatar. From these production facilities, Linde transports the liquid helium to a worldwide network of local distribution facilities.

The Linde Group, a world leading gases and engineering company with more than 50,000 employees working in around 100 countries worldwide. In the 2007 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 12.3 billion. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based and sustainable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.

Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment - in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.

For more information, see The Linde Group web site at www.linde.com