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African Oxygen Limited - Hogben upbeat on Afrox prospects for the future

Release Date: 10/02/2003 15:07:20      Code(s): AFX
African Oxygen Limited - Hogben upbeat on Afrox prospects for the future        
African Oxygen Limited                                                          
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)                                  
(Registration number 1927/000089/06)                                            
ISIN : ZAE000030920                                                             
South African Share Code : AFX                                                  
Namibian Share Code : AOX                                                       
Hogben upbeat on Afrox prospects for the future                                 
Addressing shareholders at Afrox`s annual general meeting today, managing       
director, Rick Hogben said that R800 million had been allocated for capital     
expenditure projects for the 2003 financial year.  This amount would be equally 
divided between Afrox and Afrox Healthcare.                                     
"Our strong cash flow and gearing at an acceptable 21 percent, has enabled us to
focus on growth," said Hogben.  "The R800 million will be used for potential    
acquisitions in our industrial and healthcare businesses, and some will go to   
new projects to expand existing markets."                                       
Afrox`s export revenues increased by 60 percent last year and Hogben attributed 
the growth to product excellence and good marketing, rather than price.  "The   
stronger Rand will impact negatively on sales earned in US dollars, but the     
drive to open new markets in welding equipment and increase our share of        
existing markets will continue. "                                               
"The continuing underlying growth in South African manufacturing has reflected  
in good volume growth in our core cutting and welding business," Hogben said.   
Afrox has played a leading role in the design and manufacturing of the gas      
equipment products that are marketed by parent company, BOC, a leading supplier 
of welding products in the global market.  This market is estimated at a billion
US dollars a year.  Afrox is the only gas equipment manufacturer in The BOC     
Group, which has operations in 50 countries on five continents.                 
Hogben expects the AfroxPac 35 self-contained, self rescuer to be another export
winner.  The AfroxPac 35 supplies life-sustaining oxygen to miners in the event 
of an underground emergency.  Orders for the benchmark unit, designed and made  
by the company, are expected to be substantial.                                 
Hogben said that although the prospect of war in Iraq could threaten business   
confidence, Afrox had demonstrated sufficient resilience in its core businesses 
of gases, welding and healthcare to weather challenges and capitalise on        
10 February 2003                                                                
Press Release                                                                   
Issued by African Oxygen Limited - Corporate Communications and Investor        
For further information contact                                                 
Ros Beart  082 891 5149 or                                                      
Chris Fieldgate 082 495 1481 or                                                 
011 490 0554                                                                    
Date: 10/02/2003 03:07:01 PM Supplied by www.sharenet.co.za                     
Produced by the JSE SENS Department                                             

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