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African Oxygen Limited - Afrox Forges Ahead With Growth Initiatives

Release Date: 24/02/2005 09:15:02      Code(s): AFX
African Oxygen Limited - Afrox Forges Ahead With Growth Initiatives             
African Oxygen Limited                                                          
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)                                  
Registration number 1927/000089/06)                                             
JSE Share code: AFX                                                             
ISIN: ZAE000030920                                                              
PRESS RELEASE                                                                   
24 FEBRUARY 2005                                                                
AFROX FORGES AHEAD WITH GROWTH INITIATIVES                                      
African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) is presently spearheading more than 40 growth    
projects, one of which is a R100 million re-engineering of its Gases Operations 
Centre (GOC) in Germiston. These projects cover organic growth as well as new   
greenfield"s projects and acquisitions. In addition, the company is             
substantially increasing the product service offers to customers in South Africa
and Africa.                                                                     
The Gases Operations Centre is the largest gas cylinder-filling site in the     
southern hemisphere and the most complex in terms of its product mix.  The      
complete modernisation and refurbishment of these facilities will take three    
years to complete and will include a world-class logistics layout.  A new       
nitrous oxide facility will be constructed to cater for the growth of this      
important anaesthetic and analgesic gas.                                        
Speaking at the annual general meeting today, Afrox"s chief executive, Rick     
Hogben said, "Most of our growth projects are designed to access new markets,   
improve service levels, and to ensure we have product availability going        
forward.  The GOC facility in particular, will position Afrox at the forefront  
of global filling technology.  This will increase our efficiencies              
substantially, showing real profit realisation within three years."             
The GOC expansion is part of a programme that Afrox has implemented to focus on 
its customers and to improve levels of service and efficiency throughout the    
organisation.  Hogben said, "We have surveyed attitudes towards customer-       
centricity, and we will continue to identify and present product service offers 
that suit our customers" needs.  We are reviewing every aspect of our sales and 
service efforts to ensure that we go beyond the promise we make and that we have
the capabilities to deliver on those promises.  I believe that we have a        
thorough understanding of the various segments of the market we serve."         
This focused customer initiative has extended to Afrox"s retail centres serving 
call and collect customers.  "We have converted several of our call and collect 
centres into fully-fledged retail stores under the brand name of Afrox Gas &    
Gear.  The success of these Gas & Gear outlets is extremely encouraging with net
sales showing growth of up to 40 percent for the upgraded centres.  We plan to  
have 16 operational by the year end and to convert 40 more outlets to Gas & Gear
centres within the next three years," said Hogben.                              
"Over the past few years we have expanded our core gases business and           
restructured the scientific gases, packaged chemicals, Helium and refrigerant   
services operations.  We have also identified new applications and will now     
expand our offer and service for a complete range of diving gases, fire         
suppression gases, an improved customised helium service and broader refrigerant
services."                                                                      
Linkage with international organisation, The BOC Group, gives Afrox a           
competitive edge in technology, product research and development and best       
operating practices.  Afrox manufactures products in South Africa for sale in   
many countries using BOC"s global distribution network.                         
Ends                                                                            
Issued by African Oxygen Limited                                                
Contact Chris Fieldgate 011 490 0430 or                                         
Ros Beart 011 490 0712                                                          
Date: 24/02/2005 09:15:04 AM Supplied by www.sharenet.co.za                     
Produced by the JSE SENS Department                                             
                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                                



                                        
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