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Air Products & Chemicals

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc
Public (NYSE: APD)
Founded1940, Detroit, MI
HeadquartersTrexlertown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Key peopleLeonard P. Pool, Founder, John P. Jones, CEO, John E. McGlade, COO.
IndustryChemicals - Major Diversified
Revenue 9.51 billion USD (FY 2006)
Net income 827.90 million
Employees20,000 (2006)

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: APD) is an international corporation whose principal business is selling gases and chemicals for industrial uses.

Air Products' headquarters is in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, in the United States. Air Products is the Lehigh Valley's third largest employer, after Lehigh Valley Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital.


Air Products was founded by the late Leonard P. Pool in 1940 in Detroit, Michigan, on the idea of the "on-site" concept of producing and selling industrial gases, primarily oxygen. At the time, most oxygen was sold as a highly compressed gas in cylinders that weighed five times more than the gas product. Air Products proposed building oxygen gas generating facilities adjacent to large-volume gas users, thereby reducing distribution costs. The concept of piping the gas directly from the generator to the point of use proved sound and technically solvable.

Air Products leased its first oxygen gas generator to a small Detroit steel company in 1941.Shortly after, a second order for a gaseous oxygen generator was received from the Norfolk Navy Yard. World War II diverted the company's attention to the design and manufacture of mobile generators to produce oxygen for use by the military in high-altitude flights.

At the end of the war, Air Products' military contracts were terminated. The company then refocused its sights on commercial markets by setting up operations near Allentown in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, close to the industrial markets of the Northeast.

In 1957, Air Products entered the overseas market for industrial gases through a joint venture with the Butterley Company, a British firm to which Air Products licensed its processes and designs for the manufacture of cryogenic equipment used in industrial gas production. The new venture was called Air Products (Great Britain), Ltd. Air Products later acquired a 100 percent interest in this business and expanded its operation into the supply of industrial gases as well as cryogenic equipment.

The company's position in chemicals expanded with the 1969 acquisition of Escambia Chemical Corporation, a large chemical complex at Pensacola, Florida. Escambia manufactured industrial chemicals, such as amines and polyurethane intermediates, polyvinyl chloride resins, and fertilizers.

Business was further expanded in the '70s with acquisition of the chemicals and plastics business of Airco, Inc. This added several chemical products to the company's portfolio, such as polyvinyl acetate emulsions, polyvinyl alcohol, acetylenic chemicals, and fabricated plastics.

The 1980s continued to reflect Air Products' strategy of strengthening its base businesses. In Asia, the company took minority positions in industrial gas companies in Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China, Thailand, and Taiwan. Further geographic expansion occurred with joint ventures in Spain and Mexico and the acquisition of Inter-City Gas Co. in western Canada. In the United States, the company expanded by acquiring the Separex Corporation—a manufacturer of membrane gas separation systems—and the J. C. Schumacher Company, a leading supplier of high purity chemicals for the semiconductor industry.

In the 1990s, the company continued to invest globally. In Europe, it expanded into Italy by acquiring a 49 percent interest in Sapio, a leading Italian industrial gas supplier; and completing its acquisition of Carburos Metalicos, Spain's leading industrial gas supplier. The company also acquired polyurethane additives and polyurethane release agent businesses in Germany.


Air Products serves customers in technology, products, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates.

Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives.

Air Products also provides the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that provide fuel for the Space Shuttle External Tank.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Air_Products_&_Chemicals". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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