Q1 2016 Group revenue reached € 3,872 million, up +2.4% on a comparable basis and down -3.1% on a reported basis compared with Q1 2015. Sales in Gas & Services, which amounted to € 3,548 million, rose by +4.2% on a comparable basis and fell -1.8% on a reported basis. During this quarter, the unfavorable currency impact (-2.0% for Gas & Services), which was favorable in 2015, added to the negative impact of energy prices (-4.0% for Gas & Services).
The developing economies posted strong growth, with Gas & Services revenue up +14.1% on a comparable basis.
Overall, all Gas & Services sales grew on a comparable basis in the 1st quarter, except for Industrial Merchant, impacted by weak demand in certain industrial sectors. Therefore:
- Large Industries strongly increased by +8.6%, benefiting from the ramp-up of our production units, notably in Germany, in China, and in Saudi Arabia. Hydrogen volumes were up substantially, in particular due to the ramp-up of the Yanbu site, while demand for air gases remained sustained in all geographic regions.
- Industrial Merchant, down by -2.6%, remains contrasted. Demand for oil services and related industries in North America was still weak, while in Western Europe, manufacturing activity was moderate. Conversely, developing economies grew, notably in China, with volumes substantially up. Overall, the most dynamic end markets this quarter were the Automotive and Food industries. The price effect was slightly positive at +0.5 % in a low inflation environment.
- Electronics continues to record robust growth of +13.4%. It was driven by the strong rise in sales of equipment and installation, increased demand for specialty gases, and growth in sales of advanced materials of more than +30%. The Electronics business was particularly vigorous in Japan, in China, and in Singapore.
- Healthcare, up +4.1%, continues to be a growth driver for the Group. All geographic zones had increased revenue growth. Home healthcare benefited from solid organic growth, while the contribution to sales from bolt-on acquisitions was moderate this quarter. In Hygiene, sales have continued to strongly increase (+21.2%).
Engineering and Construction revenue, which reached € 124 million this quarter, was lower due to the impact of the slowdown in large projects linked to energy in a number of countries.
Global Markets & Technologies revenue totaled € 65 million, an increase of +11.1% on a comparable basis, driven by markets related to maritime and those related to the energy transition and space.
Efficiency gains amounted to € 63 million, in line with our forecasts for the year. Actions carried out on production sites as well as in supply chain and procurement management, contributed to the Group’s good operating performance.