August 31, 2007 05:09 ET

Scholars examine the development of the international industrial gases industry

WIESBADEN, GERMANY--(Marketwire - August 31, 2007) - Linde grants research contract to the University of Glasgow's Centre for Business History

Munich/Glasgow/Frankfurt, 31 August 2007 - The Linde Group, Munich, will be working together with the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte (GUG, Society for Business History), Frankfurt, on a multiple-year research project dealing with the economic and technological importance of the international industrial gases industry. A team of scholars, under the leadership of Glasgow-based American business historian Ray Stokes, will examine sources and materials from around the world, as well as interviewing representatives of the most influential corporations in the industry. Linde is funding a Ph.D. studentship to the University of Glasgow as part of its support for the project.

"Over time and to the present day, industrial gases have changed - often without being noticed - entire lines of industry and ways of life", says Professor Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. "A modern food supply would be fully inconceivable without the use of nitrogen, or a medical treatment in a hospital unimaginable without oxygen. We're allowing objective, independent scholars to extensively study the importance of the industry, and are demonstrating the contribution that industrial gases have made to the development of modern national economies up until now, and the contribution they will be making in the future."

"For me, the most fascinating aspect of this research project is that there hasn't ever been a study this comprehensive before of this industry. We have the chance to shed light on an entire industrial branch and its most important players, who have hitherto been largely ignored, despite the fact that they make many innovations possible," says Professor Ray Stokes, Director of the Centre for Business History at the University of Glasgow.

The Society for Business History, Frankfurt, one of the most influential scholarly associations for the study of business development in Europe, will be closely involved in the project's progress in various ways, including acting as organisational host for a postdoctoral research fellow, also funded by Linde AG, and co-ordinating the project board monitoring progress on the project. "This project will open up a whole new dimension of research in business history," explains Professor Dr. Werner Plumpe, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Society. "Until now, businesses have mainly allowed scholars to study their own corporate history, which leads to a somewhat limited viewpoint. Linde is taking a new path and is letting independent scholars investigate the entire industry. I think it shows that this company is aware of its social responsibility, and that it can think outside its own box. I would be very pleased to see other corporations follow this example."

Ray Stokes and his team are to publish the results of the four- year research project in the form of a readable scholarly study, which aims to be the standard work on the subject and is to be published in both German and English. In addition, the research team will be sharing its interim results and new findings at professional symposiums throughout the project.

The Linde Group is a world-leading industrial gases, medical gases and engineering company with around 49,000 employees working in more than 70 countries worldwide. Following the acquisition of The BOC Group plc, the company has gases and engineering sales of around 12 billion euro per annum. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. For more information, please see The Linde Group online at

For further information:

Linde AG
Klaus Schoenfeld
Telephone: +49.89.35757-1352

Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte
Dr. Andrea H. Schneider

Telephone:+49.69.9720 3315

The Centre for Business History,
University of Glasgow
Professor Ray Stokes
Telephone: +44.141.330 5186

University of Glasgow
Martin Shannon, Corporate Communications
Telephone: +44.141.330 8593

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