The Board of Directors of Air Liquide chaired by Benoît Potier met on February 26, 2007 and approved the consolidated accounts for 2006.
Consolidated 2006 revenue amounted to 10,949 million euros, up +5.7% on a comparable basis. Net profit in 2006 totaled 1,002 million euros, up +11.4% over comparable net profit of 900 million euros in 2005. Operating income recurring and margins improved significantly, as a result of continued improvement in efficiency and productivity.
Over the past four years, the Group has considerably strengthened its position, through investments both in high growth economies and in already expanding markets, such as hydrogen and respiratory homecare. The Group has also prepared for the future by seizing acquisition opportunities, to enlarge its bases in the United States, Europe and more recently in Asia. These actions have led to a significant increase in its investment programs from 2006, as part of a new phase of its development.
Benoît Potier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated:
“For Air Liquide, 2006 was another year of growth and development in all of its business lines and geographic regions. Our rigorous operational management has allowed us to significantly improve our margins and to post a strong increase in net profit, which exceeds one billion euros for the first time. Thus, the Board of Directors proposes the distribution of a dividend of 4 euros per share.
The emergence of new markets, such as those in the fields of energy, environment and healthcare, offer new development prospects for the coming years. Leveraging the skills of our teams, our strong geographic and technology platforms and our excellent financial health, we have decided to strengthen our organization around our business lines with the ambition to free resources to accelerate our growth.
Within this context, at constant currencies and energy prices, our ambition is to grow revenues progressively over the next five years between +8 and +10% pa. This should lead to a +10 to 13% pa increase in net profit.
For 2007, our goal is to reach double-digit growth in net profit.”