Linde lauds Congress' bipartisan passage of helium legislation critical to healthcare and high-tech manufacturing

Sep 30, 2013, 09:45 ET from Linde North America

MURRAY HILL, N.J. and NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J., Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Linde North America praised both the U.S Senate and House of Representatives for showing bipartisanship in approving legislation to reauthorize the Federal government's helium program, which is the source of 40% of the nation's helium.

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On Thursday afternoon, the Senate voted unanimously to approve the Helium Stewardship Act to extend the helium program.  Passage by October 1 was critical to preventing a supply disruption.

Linde's global head of Bulk, Helium and Rare Gases, Joe Horn said the legislation will help stabilize helium markets and prevent disruptions in helium supply. "Passage of this legislation ensures security of supply for our customers in North America now that the Federal Helium Reserve, operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), will have the funding to continue its operations, which supply Linde's Otis, KS plant with a significant volume of Helium," Horn said.

Helium is critical to the manufacture of semiconductors, LCD screens, fiber optic cable and MRI scanners. Linde refines helium that comes from the Federal Helium Reserve and provides it to high-tech manufacturers, a wide range of healthcare and industrial customers as well as government agencies, under the federal In Kind program.

"I congratulate the Senators and Representatives who worked so hard to get this bill over the finish line," said Michael McGowan, head of Government Affairs. "Continuation of the program is critically important to the economy because it injects market forces into the helium program, while at the same time maintaining the stability and certainty that a variety of industries depend on."

The legislation authorizes BLM to gradually phase in an auction process for the sale of federal helium and institute a number of other reforms to the long-running program. Nick Haines, Linde's head of Helium Source Development, said, "Phasing in the auction will ensure that the government receives fair market prices for helium while preventing market disruptions in existing supply chains. Gradually phasing in an auction of the federal helium will attract bidders, will establish a market price, and, just as importantly, will help discourage hoarding, speculation, and other disruptive behaviors that occur in unpredictable markets."

Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2012 financial year, Linde generated revenue of EUR 15.280 bn (USD 19.9 bn). The strategy of the Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The company is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.

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SOURCE Linde North America