Recovery in Electronics
In just a few years, Air Liquide has become the leading supplier of gas and related services for the world’s major manufacturers of the electronics industry, thanks to the Group’s global infrastructure and strategic presence in key Asian markets. Chris Ryan, Vice President of the Electronics World Business Line, gives us an update on an area of business that is benefiting from a more favorable economic climate.
Chris Ryan, Vice President of the Electronics World Business Line
What is the background to the Air Liquide Electronics Business Line?
Consumer demand for notebook computers, smartphones, tablets and flat panel displays has grown strongly year-on-year for some time, driven by a growing desire for mobility, connectivity, computing power and energy consumption. The Group has put dedicated specialist teams to respond to the specific needs of the market and support the electronics industry in the manufacture of increasingly powerful devices. Our Electronics Business Line is structured around a number of segments, including ultra-pure carrier gases, a wide range of specialty gases and advanced precursor molecules, equipment for safe distribution, purification and online purity control. On site, manufacturers rely on the experience and expertise of Air Liquide in providing full management services of these products and equipment on a daily basis.
What is the Air Liquide strategy in this market?
Over the past 10 years, Air Liquide has strengthened its position in the less cyclical segments of the market, at the same time as focusing on solutions that deliver higher added value. This strategy of moving upmarket is complemented by proximity and innovation strategies. The Air Liquide Electronics Division is therefore based in Asia to be closer to the leading customers in this industry sector. As part of its permanent commitment to driving the market forward through innovation, Air Liquide has developed the new ALOHATM range of ‘advanced precursors’, which are molecules designed on demand to match the exact process requirements of its semiconductor customers. The acquisition of Voltaix Inc., a U.S. based company specializing in the production of customized molecules for the Electronics industry, has broadened the portfolio of these new high-added-value molecules.
What are the results of this strategy?
The operating margin of the Electronics Business Line has increased from 9% to 14% over the last 10 years. Contributing 8% of Group revenue from Gases and Services in 2013, the Electronics Business Line has delivered an average growth rate of around 9% per year over the last twenty years.