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Afrox - Press Release - Afrox Announces R100 Million Expansion Plan

Release Date: 17/11/2004 11:30:01      Code(s): AFX
AFROX - PRESS RELEASE - AFROX ANNOUNCES R100 MILLION EXPANSION PLAN             
AFRICAN OXYGEN LIMITED                                                          
SHARE CODE:    AFX                                                              
ISIN:          ZAE000030920                                                     
17 NOVEMBER 2004                                                                
AFROX ANNOUNCES R100 MILLION EXPANSION PLAN  -THE 77 YEAR OLD GASES OPERATIONS  
CENTRE AT GERMISTON TO RECEIVE A COMPLETE UPGRADE                               
"Confidence in the future," is how African Oxygen Limited (Afrox"s) chief       
executive, Rick Hogben, describes the decision to make a R100 million investment
in the expansion of Afrox"s gases operations centre in Germiston.  This project,
which was announced today, will start immediately and will enlarge what is      
already the biggest gas production, cylinder filling and distribution centre in 
the southern hemisphere, and the largest filling site in The BOC Group, which is
Afrox"s global parent.                                                          
Hogben says, "This R100 million is an investment for the next 10 to 20 years.   
It will place Afrox at the forefront of global filling technology, and ensure   
that we have world-class facilities necessary to meet customer demand.  We      
utilised best practices globally in designing and planning the upgrade in       
Germiston, which will take three years to complete.  This is a firm statement of
Afrox"s confidence of the South African economy and the wider customer bases    
that we service."                                                               
The gases operations centre is core to Afrox"s business.  It manufactures,      
produces and beneficiates the entire range of industrial, medical and special   
gases.  It also fills and delivers over 1,3 million cylinders a year with 312   
different products such as special gas mixtures, industrial and medical gases   
and it supplies over 50 percent of the compressed gases produced in this        
country.                                                                        
The scope of the investment includes:                                           
*    an improved logistics layout to address the present congestion.            
     Some 40 vehicles travel more than 1,6 million kilometres per year          
     transporting product to over 3 500 Afrox customers.                        
*    a world-class nitrous oxide facility to meet increased demand for this     
     medical gas                                                                
*    a world-class medical filling facility                                     
*    a world-class test station                                                 
*    office and building upgrades and enhanced security.                        
On completion the centre will offer world-class products, shorten lead times in 
the production of mixes and scientific gases, streamline logistical integration 
between Afrox and customer sites, and will effect savings through increased     
efficiencies and productivity.                                                  
"The expansion and improvement project at the gases operations centre is one of 
several growth and expansion projects over the next three years," says Hogben.  
"Following extensive research into our customer profiles and requirements, we   
have plans to expand our carbon dioxide plant capacity, introduce new offers    
such as safety products, refrigerants and fire suppression services, and we     
intend to focus on organic and geographic growth in the 16 African countries in 
which we operate."                                                              
Afrox has met the welding, cutting and gases needs of customers in South African
and sub-Saharan Africa for 77 years - from the advanced process-oriented        
requirements of the large fabricator, to the varied product line-up required by 
the small user and DIY enthusiast.   The company has some three million gas     
cylinders in circulation and also supplies customers with bulk product which it 
transports by road tankers, pipeline or from on-site plants.                    
The gases operations centre was established in 1927 and over the past years has 
been continually upgraded to meet increased business. The site currently has a 5
star NOSA rating and an ISO 9001 listing, but an ISO 14000 listing will be      
sought during 2005.  The modernisation of the centre is part of Afrox"s strategy
to continue to offer world-class quality products and services to its customers.
Ends                                                                            
Issued by African Oxygen Limited                                                
Contact Chris Fieldgate 011 490 0430 or 082 495 1481                            
Ros Beart 011 490 0712                                                          
Date: 17/11/2004 11:30:04 AM Supplied by www.sharenet.co.za                     
Produced by the JSE SENS Department                                             
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                



                                        
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