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Industrial gas giant Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD - Analyst Report) has completed the $10 million capability expansion of its three packaged gases plants located in China to meet the increasing demand of the country’s high-growth metal fabrication industries.

The expansion was completed with the three state-of-the-art gas transfills located in Kunshan, Guangzhou and Tianjin in China.  These plants are now ready to supply Air Products' unique Linx gas regulators, range of shielding gases and other industrial gases to the most developed economic zones of China, namely Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Bohai Gulf. The products supplied by Air Products from these three plants support welding, cutting and other processes for metal fabrication business in China.

Air Products’ metal fabrication segment has enjoyed major market base in China since 2008. Fabricators focus more on shielding gases as an effective solution to cost, productivity, quality, safety and environmental requirements. Thus, the leading fabricators across the globe prefer to use Air Products' Linx shielding gases for wielding, which represents an important process of metal fabrication.

Air Products has been selected as the exclusive official gas supplier for the ongoing 18th Beijing Essen Welding & Cutting Fair in Shanghai. Air Products was selected due to its high-performance shielding gases and reliable supply. This is the fourth year in a row that Air Products is serving such a big welding fair in Asia. Air Products is expected to supply nearly 500 cylinders of gases to this fair from its expanded Kunshan plant.

The Kunshan plant at present supplies helium, specialty and high-purity gases, calibration mixtures and the newly-added Linx range to diverse markets including metal fabrication, optical fiber, machinery processing, fine chemicals and electronics, labs and hospitals in East China.

Air Products holds a strong market position in China. It operates with more than 40 entities and 50 production facilities in the country, serving a broad range of industries including those stipulated in the 12th Five-year Plan. Air Products also opened a welding lab in its advanced gas applications laboratory in Shanghai last year.

Air Products currently holds a short-term Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Other companies in the chemical industry that are worth considering include Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. (SHECY), Methanex Corporation (MEOH - Analyst Report) and Celanese Corporation (CE - Analyst Report). While Shin-Etsu Chemical and Methanex hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Celanese retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
 

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