Commenting on the first quarter 2015, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, said:
“Growth this quarter was driven by the dynamism of Healthcare and Electronics, and by developing economies, especially China where sales rose by nearly +20% on a comparable basis.
Industrial demand was moderate at the start of the year. In North America, the slowdown in the oil services industry, combined with temporary plant turnarounds of several customers, had a short-term impact on our Large Industries activities, while in Western Europe, the manufacturing sector continues to improve in several countries. Globally, the Group’s revenue growth outpaced that of its market, against a backdrop of falling energy prices and favorable exchange rates.
Operational performance remains solid; the Group continues to generate efficiency gains and is also reinforcing its growth initiatives.
Growth in the next few years will be supported by the recent major new contract signings, the investment backlog of € 2.6 billion, and the innovations and technologies currently under development.
Assuming a comparable economic environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2015.”
Q1 2015 Group revenue reached € 3,993 million, up +7.0% on a reported basis and up +3.0% on a comparable basis1 versus the 1st quarter of 2014. Sales in Gas & Services, which amounted to € 3,632 million, rose by +6.3% on a reported basis and by +2.6% on a comparable basis. The positive currency effect (+7.3%) was partly offset by a negative energy impact (-3.6%), which was particularly evident in Large Industries.
On a comparable basis, Gas & Services revenue in developing economies progressed by +9.4% while all Gas & Services business lines reported revenue growth in the 1st quarter 2015:
In industry, the results were more contrasted.
Engineering and Technology revenue rose by +16.4% on a comparable basis, reflecting the progress made on projects underway for third-party customers.
Efficiency gains reached € 62 million, in line with the annual target of more than € 250 million. The initiatives, mainly in the area of procurement, logistics, and energy efficiency, combined with ongoing efforts to align Group structures, contributed to the good operational performance.
1 adjusted for currency, energy (natural gas and electricity) and significant M&A impacts ↩