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Graham wins $3.2 million contract for project in Saudi Arabia

Graham Corp. has won contracts worth $3.2 million to install condensers and ejector systems in a new petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia, the Batavia-based manufacturer said Thursday.

The contract is the second major deal for Graham this week, following Monday's announcement that it has signed a $2 million agreement to provide a pair of steam surface condensers for a new ethylene production plant in Kuwait.

The announcement helped push up Graham's stock by 6 percent, or $1.25, to $23.65 after hitting a 52-week high of $23.90 during the day.

Graham's stock has more than tripled this year as the oil boom spurs demand for its condensers and ejector systems, which are used in refineries and chemical plants.

"The current high level of capital spending for new production facilities in the Middle East is unprecedented," said William C. Johnson, Graham's president and chief executive officer.

Johnson said the number of projects is increasing, as is the size of those ventures as chemical firms try to meet the growing demand for products made from ethylene and its byproducts.

Ethylene, which is produced from oil or natural gas, is a building-block chemical that is used in the production of products ranging from carpets and apparel to plastics and tires.

Johnson said demand for ethylene is expected to rise by 5 percent to 6 percent annually over the next five years as demand for consumer products rises.

The Saudi project will require four surface condensers and four ejector systems that are expected to be shipped by the end of September 2006. The Saudi plant will produce more than 4 million tons of ethylene products each year.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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