Industrial gases producer and distributor Praxair, Inc., Danbury, CT, reported sales of $8.3 billion for 2006, an increase of 10% over last year. In North America, sales reached $4.6 billion for the year, up 9%.   ; Sales in the fourth quarter were $2.123 billion, up 9% from the same period a year ago. In North America, fourth-quarter sales hit $1.182 billion, up 6%.   ; Praxair achieved strong growth from new business and the start-up of new supply systems in every geography and end market.   ; Sales growth occurred in most major end markets and the company completed seven major projects in 2006. Additionally, the number of new projects underway and set to come on stream in the next several years increased significantly over the course of the year.   ; In Europe, sales in the fourth quarter of $306 million grew 19%, and increased 11% excluding currency effects. For the year, sales reached $1,163 million, representing 7% growth excluding currency effects. Underlying sales growth came primarily from increased business activity in Spain and Italy.   ; In South America, fourth-quarter sales of $351 million grew 12% versus the prior year quarter, and 8% excluding currency effects. Full-year sales were $1,348 million, up 11% excluding currency. Sales growth continues to outpace underlying industrial production due to higher sales to the energy sector and new project start-ups, including the first plant in Brazil to supply liquefied natural gas for commercial and industrial customers.   ; Sales in Asia grew 14% to $169 million in the quarter, and grew 17% to $636 million for the year. Sales to electronics markets continued to be strong and contributed to the double-digit sales growth in the region.