DANBURY, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX), the largest industrial gases company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide, today celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding as well as its 15th year as a publicly-traded corporation.

The original company was founded in Buffalo, New York, in 1907, where it built North America’s first commercial cryogenic oxygen plant. In its early days, it played a pioneering role in the development and growth of the oxyacetylene welding process in U.S. industry.

Apart from oxygen, Praxair now produces and delivers a wide range of gases including nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, helium, argon, krypton as well as specialty gas mixtures and high-performance coatings to more than a million customers globally.

Today, Praxair employs 28,000 people in over 30 countries. Its products and services are used in scores of industries including oil and petrochemicals, steel, food and beverage, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, aerospace, electronics and metal fabrication. Over the years, the company has developed many break-through technologies in the gases industry and is one of the top 300 companies holding U.S. patents.

Since becoming a publicly-traded NYSE company in 1992, Praxair’s market value has grown from $2.15 billion to $20 billion today. Its total shareholder return has averaged 17.7% every year since then, compared to the S&P Index of 10.96% per year.

“Today Praxair announced 2006 sales of $8.3 billion, the highest in the company’s history,” said Steve Angel, president and chief executive officer. “In addition, both net income and earnings per share increased by 24%.”

“Praxair is beginning its second century with a truly solid financial performance and we have a pipeline of new projects that will contribute to our earnings growth and momentum through the end of this decade,” Angel added. “This has been made possible by a global team of employees – steeped in 100 years of performance excellence – that is skilled, innovative and dedicated to serving our customers reliably and safely.”

More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at www.praxair.com