One of the least high profile growth sectors in the world is the industrial gases sector, possibly as befits a substance that you may be able to smell but often cannot see. Across technology, healthcare and industry applications there are few sub-sectors that are not consumers of this product. Even more intriguing is that the capital expenditure required to both generate and distribute these products has led to an industry which is globally oligopolised. We caught up last week with Europe’s premier industrial gases company Air Liquide (AI on the Paris exchange) who supplemented discussions about new applications of their product range, with an update on the synergy gains from their acquisition a year ago of their US peer Airgas, which has helped round out their global industrial gases revenue and profit base. Cost savings derived from better purchasing, investment decisions and distribution improvements seem to offer a self-help story that complements the company’s growth emanating from the general global economy. These cost savings are also helping boost Air Liquide’s cash flow to help pay down the debt level expanded by the deal as well as well as aiding their long history of increasing their dividend payment. Vive les gaz industriels!