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BOC purchases Shell LPG business in New Zealand

NEWS RELEASE


BOC purchases Shell LPG business in New Zealand


Auckland, New Zealand, 13th December 2006

BOC, the leading supplier of gases, industrial and safety products in New Zealand, today signed an agreement with Shell to purchase Shell New Zealand’s (Shell NZ) commercial LPG business, including its shareholding in Liquigas. The purchase is subject to clearance by the Commerce Commission, and a decision is expected by the Commission in early 2007.

“LPG is a key part of BOC’s business globally, with annual revenues of more than NZ $1.1 billion, and is integral to our growth strategy. This multi-million dollar acquisition represents a significant commitment to increase the BOC LPG business and its capabilities,” said Sue Dale, BOC’s General Manager in New Zealand. “It also increases BOC market share and secures its position as a significant market player in New Zealand.”

BOC also has a strong presence and experience with LPG in the South Pacific region. BOC will therefore leverage its global capabilities, experience and network to give New Zealand customers the best possible services and products.

Mark Forsyth, Retail General Manager for Shell New Zealand, said “The divestment of our LPG commercial and distributor businesses and the Liguigas shareholding will help Shell Retail focus on its core business. LPG remains an important element of Shell’s fuel portfolio and for our retail customers, it will be business as usual. Shell will continue to sell high quality and competitively priced LPG at its retail sites and LPG autogas customers will continue to receive a 4cpl discount when using their Progressive discount voucher.

“The divestment of the LPG business is consistent with Shell’s strategy of managing its portfolio to deliver maximum value to customers and shareholders. While the LPG commercial and distributor business is robust with growth prospects, it is no longer considered core to SNZ’s retail business,” he said.

The major uses of LPG are automotive and non-automotive including retail, residential, industrial and commercial use. According to the LPG Association of New Zealand, the size of the total LPG market is over 160,000 tonnes per year and now accounts for some 1,945GWh of electricity displacement.

BOC has the ability to service and support customers nationally and has been recognised for its passion and support for customer service.

“BOC has significant experience in the South Pacific in the LPG business through BOC-owned operations and the largest cylinder management capability in region. This is supported by supply chain and logistics resources for inherently hazardous products,” said Sue Dale. “Our expertise centres on safety and operational capabilities, both of which played a key role in the decision to proceed with the acquisition.”

BOC has invested very strongly in New Zealand. This commitment is supported by significant business investment and community, environmental and sustainability sponsorships. These include “where there’s water…” in partnership with New Zealand Water Environment Research Foundation, and a partnership with Rotary as primary sponsor for the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness program.

BOC has operated in New Zealand for over 90 years. The company has extensive experience in handling bulk gases, packaged cylinder gases and specialty application gases for its 40,000 customers throughout New Zealand. The scope of business spans from hospitals to homes and hotels, from major chemical companies to small businesses, through to laboratories, refineries and the food industry.

The company employs around 2,200 people in South Pacific where it serves more than 400,000 customers through 40 production facilities, 90 retail outlets (21 retail outlets in NZ), 800 Agents (61 Agents in NZ), a New Zealand-based Customer Service Centre and field sales staff.

If Commerce Commission clearance is obtained, a transition program will be put in place. BOC is working closely with Shell on a smooth transition between Shell and BOC.

About BOC
BOC is a member of the world leading industrial gases and engineering company, The Linde Group, with more than 53,000 employees working in around 70 countries worldwide and sales of approximately AU$20 billion per annum. The strategy of the Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. For more information, please see The Linde Group online at http://www.linde.com
For more than a century, BOC’s gases and expertise have contributed to advances in many industries and aspects of everyday life, including steel-making, refining, chemical processing, environmental protection, wastewater treatment, welding and cutting, food processing and distribution, glass production, electronics and health care.
Further information about BOC's products and services can be found at www.boc.co.nz

ENDS

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