In the third quarter of 2011, the technology company The Linde Group built on its good business performance in the first half of the financial year, achieving significant increases in Group sales and Group operating profit in the nine months to 30 September 2011.
“We are continuing to make good progress and are therefore able to confirm our previous forecast,” commented Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. “We are still expecting to achieve a higher level of Group sales and Group operating profit* in the 2011 financial year than in 2010.”
As far as the general economic environment is concerned, Reitzle said, “Even if economic activity loses a little pace, we continue to see good growth opportunities for our business, especially in energy and the environment and in the emerging economies.”
In the nine months to 30 September 2011, Group sales rose by 8.5 percent to EUR 10.209 bn, compared with the figure for the first nine months of 2010 of EUR 9.405 bn. After adjusting for exchange rate effects, the increase in sales was 9.0 percent. Linde increased Group operating profit* at a faster rate than sales, by 10.2 percent to EUR 2.363 bn (2010: EUR 2.145 bn), mainly as a result of the rigorous implementation of its HPO (High Performance Organisation) programme, a holistic concept for sustainable process optimisation and productivity gains. The Group operating margin rose to 23.1 percent (2010: 22.8 percent).
Earnings before tax (EBT) were EUR 1.184 bn, 18.0 percent higher than the figure for the prior-year period of EUR 1.003 bn. Earnings after tax rose by 20.7 percent to EUR 903 m (2010: EUR 748 m). After adjusting for non-controlling interests, earnings attributable to Linde AG shareholders were EUR 856 m (2010: EUR 698 m). Earnings per share increased as a result by 21.5 percent to EUR 5.02 (2010: EUR 4.13). On an adjusted basis, i.e. after adjusting for the effects of the purchase price allocation in the course of the BOC acquisition, earnings per share stood at EUR 5.68 (2010: EUR 4.88).
Together with its project partner SBM Offshore, Netherlands, Linde’s Engineering Division signed a cooperation agreement during the reporting period with the Thai oil group PTT (Petroleum Authority of Thailand) to develop a floating natural gas liquefaction plant in the Timor Sea off the northern coast of Australia. The project will involve the conversion of natural gas from three gas fields into LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). If the gas reserves meet expectations, the project will move into the front-end engineering and design phases by the end of 2011. The final investment decision would be made at the end of 2012. Commercial production would be expected to commence at the end of 2016.
The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 50,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year, it achieved sales of EUR 12.868 bn. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based 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. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.
October 28, 2011; Image: Linde