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First Half 2009 Results
Resilience in sales and net profit 2009 objectives maintained

corporate information

First half performance

  • Solid revenue at €5,937 million (-5.8% comparable)
  • Resilient margins and net profit of €596 million almost at the same level as 1st half 2008 (-0.8%)
  • Strong contribution from cost control, cash management and selectiveness in investments

First half highlights

  • Start-up and ramp-up of Large Industries units, in particular in Europe and China
  • New Industrial Merchant investments in Russia and the Middle East
  • New contracts in Healthcare and integration of three companies specializing in homecare (Tunisia and the Netherlands)
  • Electronics: new contracts in China for flat screen manufacturers and in photovoltaics

Air Liquide’s Board of Directors, chaired by Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO, met on July 29, 2009 and reviewed the financial statements at June 30, 2009.

The first half activity level was characterized by very contrasted sector demand. Group revenue for the 1st half of 2009 reduced slightly by -6.8%, half of which is attributable to the decline in natural gas prices. This compares with an especially strong first half of 2008. After having fallen until April, activity improved in May and June, and several localized signs of recovery in the emerging economies and in sectors such as chemicals in the United States and Electronics became apparent. Sales in the 2nd quarter, adjusted for natural gas and currency, are up by about +1% compared to those of the 1st quarter of 2009.

Large Industries, buoyed by start-ups and ramp-ups in China, Europe and the Middle East, and Healthcare, especially in the homecare sector, are still growing. Electronics is progressively picking up, in particular in Asia with a recovery in volumes of specialty and carrier gases. In Industrial Merchant, the volumes have now stabilized, albeit at a low level. The number of investment projects entering the portfolio of opportunities is again on the rise.

The very strong resilience in Group margins at 15% and the limited reduction in the Operating Income Recurring before depreciation at -2.7% are the result of the robustness of the Group’s business model and the effectiveness of the management measures taken for 2009 and deployed in the context of the ALMA strategic program. The Net profit (Group share) was €596 million, almost at the same level as 1st half 2008.

Commenting on the 1st half 2009, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of the Air Liquide Group, stated:

The performance of the 1st half of 2009 is in line with our expectations, in terms of efficiency, cash generation and level of indebtedness. It confirms Air Liquide’s resilience in a context of slow demand.
As concerns the levels of activity, the positive signs were more pronounced at the end of the half-year, but some segments remain affected by weak customer demand. In this context and as a result of the momentum generated by the ALMA program, we maintain our objective for 2009, of revenue and net income to be close to the 2008 levels.
The Group remains confident in the robustness of its growth model thanks to the structural potential of its five growth drivers which are Energy, Environment, Emerging Economies, Health and High-Tech. Air Liquide will continue to invest in them to strengthen its strategic positioning.”

Key figures for 1st half 2009

In million of euros published comparable*
Group revenue €5,937 M -6.8% -5.8%
of which Gas & Services €5,022 M -6.0% -4.6%
Operating Income Recurring before depreciation €1,396 M -2.7%  
Operating Income Recurring €889 M -6.5%  
Net profit €596 M -0.8%  
Diluted earnings per share
(in euros)
Net debt as at June 30, 2009 €5,654 M +3.1%
against 31.12.08
Net cash flows** €1,113 M +24.9%  

* on a comparable basis: excluding impact of currency and natural gas
** net cash from operating activities

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