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Afrox Sets Out Future Strategy

Release Date: 26/11/2003 10:22:02      Code(s): AFX
AFROX SETS OUT FUTURE STRATEGY                                                  
African Oxygen Limited                                                          
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)                                  
(Registration number 1927/000089/06)                                            
(Share code: AFX ISIN Code: ZAE000030920                                        
("Afrox")                                                                       
Press Release                                                                   
26 November 2003                                                                
AFROX SETS OUT FUTURE STRATEGY                                                  
In line with its strategy to optimise the growth potential and profitability of 
African Oxygen Limited (Afrox), the company today announced the strategic steps 
it intends taking to secure future growth as a dedicated industrial business.   
This follows the announcement made on 17 November 2003 that it would be selling 
off its healthcare subsidiary, Afrox Healthcare, to a BEE consortium.           
Commenting on the way ahead, Rick Hogben, Afrox CE, said, "As a stand alone     
industrial business Afrox should achieve average real growth above inflation of 
between 8 and 10% a year.  Our marketing and efficiency enhancing initiatives   
have been very successful. This was demonstrated with the release of our year-  
end results in October.  We recorded a net profit increase of 42% and increased 
net cash inflows from operating activities of 34%.  This was led by the         
industrial business, which contributed 62% of the net profit attributable to    
shareholders."                                                                  
Notable performance achievements came from the Handigas business, which improved
operating margins and gained further business in the automotive industry.  The  
special products and packaged chemicals operations also continued to grow and   
new applications are being researched. Substantial local and export orders were 
received from the AfroxPac 35 self-rescuer, contained in the safety services and
products sector.  AfroxPac 35 was launched last year and sales this year have   
exceeded R90 million.                                                           
Hogben continued:  "We pride ourselves in being a customer-centric organisation.
In the past two years, we have been remodelling our service offering for        
customers.  In many ways we are focusing on our roots. The industrial business  
is all about the management of a number of businesses each worth around R100    
million or more.  We aim to turn our core competencies into strategic advantages
by growing the scale and scope of Afrox while improving productivity and        
efficiency.  We will create shareholder value by expanding new products and     
services for local and global markets, driving volumes and productivity, and    
seeking value-adding opportunities. We will focus on growing our export business
through widening our range of products and increasing our share in export       
markets."                                                                       
Afrox will also attempt to bring BEE into all new enterprises that are pursued  
and the Board is currently investigating ways to empower the group further.     
"Afrox has a team of talented people whose passion, energy, diversity and       
commitment are integral to our success.  We will continue to extend our reach   
into South Africa"s neighbouring territories and we see Africa as a growth area 
for our products. We will increase the size and scale of our presence in Africa,
which will include a focus on Tanzania and Angola, as well as the other 15      
countries in which we currently operate.                                        
"Afrox is part of a global company running on world class business principles,  
with a strong international reach.  While we have enjoyed some notable          
achievements during the year, Afrox is only as good as its next set of results. 
Everything we have achieved is in the past tense and 2004 will bring a fresh set
of challenges.  We will continue to be driven by a focus on customers,          
developing new and innovative product and service offerings, while sustaining   
and enhancing the quality of our underlying business; we will continue to focus 
on efficiency and effectiveness to help drive performance, so that we can       
continue to offer above average service to our customers and above average      
returns to our shareholders," Hogben concluded.                                 
-ends-                                                                          
Transaction sponsor: JPMorgan                                                   
For further information please contact:                                         
Afrox                              (011) 490 0400                               
Rick Hogben, CEO                   (011) 490-0504                               
Chris Fieldgate                    (011) 490-0430 / 082 495 1481                
Ros Beart                     (011) 490 0712 / 082 891 5149                     
Brunswick                     (011) 268 5750                                    
Rob Pinker                         083 326 7794                                 
Taryn Proksch                      083 273 1301                                 
Gareth Sharp                       083 287 3180                                 
Date: 26/11/2003 10:22:05 AM Supplied by www.sharenet.co.za                     
Produced by the JSE SENS Department                                             
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                



                                        
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