Air Liquide’s Board of Directors, which met on February 13, 2013, adopted the 2012 audited financial statements. An unqualified report will be issued by the external auditors.
2012 consolidated revenue reached € 15,326 million. In a contrasted global economic environment, Gas & Services showed solid growth up +6.5%. On a comparable basis, the developing economies, which now represent 23% of sales, achieved double digit growth (+11%) when advanced economies reached +1%. The fourth quarter showed an improvement in growth in all regions.
Highlights of the year included sustained growth in Large Industries notably from the increase in hydrogen demand for refining and chemicals in Asia and the United States, and by the progression of Healthcare driven by organic growth and acquisitions in Europe. Industrial Merchant activity is slightly up in a very competitive environment, while Electronics has seen signs of recovery in the fourth quarter.
Operating Income Recurring is up +6.3% at € 2,560 million. The operating margin, benefiting from efficiency gains of € 284 million, is stable at 16.7%. Net profit (Group share) is at € 1,609 million, up +4.9%. Cash flow (after change in Working Capital Requirements) is up +11.7%. Net debt stands at € 6,103 million, stable excluding acquisitions, leading to a gearing ratio of 58%. The pro forma* Return on capital employed is preserved at 11.9%.
Commenting on the 2012 results, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of the Air Liquide Group, stated:
“In the context of the global economic slowdown in 2012, the Group’s performance is solid. Our extensive geographic presence, our initiatives in new markets and targeted acquisitions allow us to show further growth in activity and operating results.
In 2012, the total amount of investment decisions rose to € 2.9 billion, the highest level since 2007. The increase in the Engineering & Construction order intake, the high level of our 12-month portfolio of investment opportunities and the scheduled commissioning of 50 plants in the next two years confirm customer confidence in the medium-term.
The Group continues to strengthen its competitiveness and innovation to ensure profitable growth over the long-term, based upon a sustained investment program and upon efficiencies for which the 2011-2015 objective is increased by +30% to € 1.3 billion.
Barring a degradation of the environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2013.”
* Pro forma: by including the annualized profit impact of the acquisition of LVL Médical and Gasmedi.
At the next Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, the Board of Directors will propose the payment of a dividend of 2.50 € per share, up +10.3%, taking into account the attribution of 1 free share for 10 existing in 2012. The ex date has been set for May 16, and the payment date on May 22, 2013.
The Board also approved the draft resolutions to be submitted to the Annual General Meeting, and in particular the renewal of Mr. Thierry Desmarest and Mr. Thierry Peugeot, as directors, for a period of four years. Mr. Alain Joly’s mandate will expire at the next AGM. Member of the Board since 1982, Mr. Alain Joly was Chairman and CEO from 1995 to 2001, and then Chairman of the Supervisory Board from 2001 to 2006. The Board expressed its deepest thanks for his enormous contribution to Air Liquide’s development over these years.
Furthermore, the Board set the compensation for the Executive officers for 2013: details will be published on the Air Liquide website.