In a year when the total return on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down more than 22%, the total return on Praxair's stock was up 6%.

In a year when most companies hunkered down,waiting for the economy to recover, Praxair forged ahead with its growth programs, gaining new business in its target markets.

In a year when stagnant economies kept the pressure on sales growth, Praxair pressed on with its global Six Sigma productivity improvement initiative to boost customer service and streamline operations, and increased return on capital to 13.4% from 12.7% in the previous year.

In short, during 2002 Praxair demonstrated that it has the right combination of products and services, technologies and skills, local savvy and global reach, strategic vision and ability to execute to compete successfully — in spite of tough economic conditions.

The year capped Praxair's first decade as an independently-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange – a decade of growth and achievement by a team of people around the world recognized for their expertise and integrity, and who are committed to future decades of success for Praxair and its shareholders