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2018 Annual General Meeting

May 16, 2018
Paris, Palais des Congrès

Air Liquide held its 2018 Annual General Meeting on May 16, 2018 at the Palais des Congrès, Paris (France).

Relive the highlights

We invite you to relive the highlights of the 2018 AGM through 12 video clips available on our YouTube channel.

Replies to questions asked prior to the AGM

Sustainable development

Question from the company PHITRUST:

Your company is not yet a participant in the "Science Based Targets" initiative which introduces scientific monitoring of the reduction scenario for greenhouse gas emissions. Can you state the reasons why you have not adopted this initiative and whether you intend to do so during the 2018 financial year?

We are indeed looking with interest at the “Science Based Targets” initiative. As at today’s date, it does not propose any methodology for the industrial and medical gas business. One of the complexities is that this business serves numerous industries which each have their own 2°C pathway, certain of which are still being developed. However, the Air Liquide Group has actively participated in the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures (TCFD) and is currently working on the determination of the climate objectives which will be communicated in the second half of this year.

The Group is also reviewing whether it is possible to define a “Science Based Targets” methodology which takes the complex nature of our business sector into account.


Human resources / Governance

Questions from Ms Caroline Bommart-Forster:

Have you put in place an identified and efficient procedure, in order to prevent sexist behaviour and sexual harassment and to take action in the event thereof? If so, do you have detailed information concerning the notifications made and the action taken? 

Our warning system enables employees to report any departure from the Company’s Code of Conduct, including in particular any allegations of sexual harassment. In 2017, a few very rare and isolated incidents were notified through this system. After review, the necessary disciplinary measures were implemented.

Is it one of your objectives over the next two years to reverse the percentages, i.e. to have a total of 40% of men on your Board? Or do you simply intend to comply with the strict legal requirements? In order to do so, would you like to be sent a list of women directors?

We comply with the legislation on gender equality. Five women have seats on the Board of Directors (i.e. 45% of the elected members). Moreover, our internal regulations provide that the composition of the Board shall reflect diversity and complementary experience, in particular international experience, nationalities, genders, cultures and expertise, the members being chosen on account of their skills, integrity and independent-mindedness. These principles steer the procedure for identifying and assessing candidates, which is managed by the Appointments and Governance Committee, with the assistance of an external firm of consultants.

How do you intend over the next 2 years to increase the share of women on the Executive Committee and/or in the Top 100? Please can you tell us of any changes you have made as compared to last year?

The number of women on the Executive Committee doubled in 2018, with the arrival of Armelle Levieux (Vice President Group Human Resources), who joined Fabienne Lecorvaisier, Executive Vice President. Our criteria for a seat on the Executive Committee are skills and experience, which apply to both men and women.

The proportion of women among the engineers and senior managers has been steadily increasing (from 17% in 2005 to 29% at the end of 2017), which is a very significant result for an industrial group.

In 2017, 37% of the engineers and senior managers who were hired were women. For each management position, at least one female candidate must be considered. This human resources policy which promotes diversity is gradually paying off, with the objective of being reflected at the highest level of the Company.

Is part of the executive officers' variable remuneration indexed to the achievement of gender equality objectives? If so, precisely what proportion and how many executive officers received it?

The variable remuneration of the senior managers always incorporates a sustainable development criterion, which may include gender diversity.

Can you provide us with an anonymous table comparing the remuneration (including any benefits in kind) for men and women with equivalent or comparable positions? What strategies have you adopted and what financial efforts have you made to eliminate, on a definitive basis, any pay gaps for men and women who hold an equivalent or similar position? On what date will this pay gap be eliminated?

Air Liquide’s wage policy aims to:

  • Ensure an equal wage for equivalent positions and skills. This is the core of our remuneration policy, which is based on three criteria: performance, responsibilities in the position held, internal and external remuneration practices.
  • Ensure the advancement of women at all levels of the organisation, including in particular the most senior positions.

How do you encourage male employees at your company to take paternity leave, to work part-time and/or to telework, in order to achieve a better work/life balance? 

We apply the relevant regulations in the countries where Air Liquide is present. In France, the collective bargaining agreement on professional equality between men and women, which is implemented at Air Liquide, monitors the effective application of these measures.

Questions from Mr Sébastien Groyer (of the company Equinomy):

Why would the vast majority of management remuneration not be based on an ecological extra-financial remuneration, for the benefit of the environment?

For several years, the qualitative criteria for the variable remuneration of the  executive officers incorporate a CSR objective. In 2018, for Mr Benoît Potier, this objective includes among others the deployment of  the Corporate Sustainable Program and the definition of sustainable development objectives in line with the NEOS company program. Concerning the senior managers their variable remuneration always incorporates a sustainable development criterion.

The Notat-Sénard report, in connection with the draft Pacte law, proposes that the number of employee representatives on the board should be increased, which will, I hope, be adopted. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to add a first customer representative on the board?

The composition of the Board aims to reflect the interests of all the shareholders. The choice of Directors proposed to the Shareholders' Meeting is guided by their skills in those sectors in which the Group operates: energy/oil/chemicals, automotive, healthcare/research/pharmaceuticals, service/retail industry.

 These sectors are in particular those of our customers.


Question from Mr Denis L.:

Why isn't free software a focus of concern for Air Liquide? Why isn't it part of its strategy? Does the company understand the issues behind it?

The Group has already been using Open Source (free software) for a number of years in its information systems: for its operating systems, data storage, its databases, software development, and certain application servers.

It is one of the bases for our IT strategy, in order to accelerate digital transformation.

In line with the principles governing the use of free software, Air Liquide is also examining the possibility of sharing certain of its developments with the “open source” community, where appropriate.



Question from Mr Pierre Bonnicel:

Given the current share price, is there an intention to effect a share split over the short-term? If so, within what time-frame and in what proportion?

If the share price remains above €100 level on a lasting basis, a share split may be envisaged. The most recent share split dates back to 2007, when the stock was quoted at approximately €180.

If this situation were to arise, we would review the parameters of this operation, bearing in mind the interests of the Company and the shareholders and given that the cost of such an operation is not neutral.


Question from Mr Pierre Delahaye:

Can you position our group with regard to the competition?

On an international scale, there are four main participants in the industrial gas sector: Air Liquide, Linde (Germany), Praxair (USA) and Air Products (USA). There are also several regional players, such as Taiyo Nippon Sanso (Japan), Messer (Germany), Yingde (China) and Hangzhou Hangyang (China). Finally, on the local markets, numerous smaller players are also present. At the end of 2016, Linde and Praxair presented an in principle agreement for a merger of equals between their two groups.

Air Liquide is the international leader in the industrial gas sector, and is, in particular, leader in the Large Industries, Industrial Merchant and Electronics activities.