27 February 2007 10:24 [Source: ICIS news]Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined "Air Liquide to repeat double-digit growth in 2007" dated 27 February 2007, please read in the third paragraph …€182.89… instead of ….£182.89. A corrected story follows. By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Air Liquide on Tuesday posted a 12.8% rise in its 2006 operating income to €1.7bn ($2.2bn) from a year ago and expects to repeat double-digit growth in net profit this year.
The French group also announced a 1:2 share split to increase liquidity and align its stock with those of others in the market.
In response to the positive outlook and stock split, Air Liquide shares were up 0.84% at €182.89 in early European trade.
The company targets to grow revenues progressively over the next five years between 8-10% which should lead to a 10-13%/year increase in net profit, it said in a statement.
Further ahead, "The emergence of new markets, such as those in the fields of energy, environment and healthcare, offer new development prospects for the coming years," Benoit Poiter, the company’s chairman and chief executive said.
Higher product prices, increased efficiency, a modest growth in depreciation and the deferred recovery of the energy costs increase boosted its operating income recurring margin to 15.2% from 14.5% in 2005, it added.
Net profit rose 11.4% to €1bn in 2006 from a year ago. Revenue increased across all regions and in all its businesses to reach €10.9bn in 2006, up 4.9%.
For its gas and services segment, revenue grew 5.3% to €9.6bn.
The segment’s recurring operating income in Asia rose 5.1% to €266m. Hydrogen, homecare and large contracts in China recorded strong revenue growth.
In Europe and North America, the recurring operating income grew 8% and 9.9% respectively. Margins in these two regions increased due to a gradual recovery of energy costs, it said.
The recurring operating income for related activities rose 16.7% to €123m on double-digit increase in welding, improved chemical margins and sustained profits in engineering and construction.
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