Global industrial gases company Air Liquide has increased its presence in Southeastern Europe by creating a subsidiary in Serbia.   ; Over the past three years, Serbia has been one of Europe's fastest growing economies with an average annual GDP growth of 7.3%. It is the most industrialized country in ex-Yugoslavia. Its major growth drivers are telecommunications, construction and transport, with a recent upswing of industrial production. Its strategic position allows good access to transportation corridors between Western and South-Eastern Europe and Turkey.
The move is part of Air Liquide's goal to establish a stronger presence in the region. Since the end of last year, Air Liquide has operated an Air Separation Unit in Romania and is supplying cylinder and liquid gases to a major shipyard in South-Eastern Romania. It will soon commission its own acetylene production and filling center in the region.   ; By the end of 2007, Air Liquide Bulgaria will also start up a new Air Separation Unit with liquid production close to Sofia, which will support the development of local industrial activities.   ; The accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union has facilitated the logistic supply chain in the region and provides synergies with the well-established operations of Air Liquide Hellas in Greece.