16 February 2009 09:46 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Air Liquide posted an 8.6% increase in full year 2008 net profit to €1.22bn ($1.56bn), up from €1.12bn in 2007, the France-based industrial gases company said on Monday.
Group revenue was up 11% to €13.1bn driven by organic growth, consolidation of Lurgi engineering activities and the positive effect of natural gas prices, according to the company.
Air Liquide said the economic slowdown had led to significant falls in demand for specific products such as oxygen for flat steel and electronic speciality gases for electronics. However, it still expected growth in both revenue and net profit in 2009.
The company said it had “structural advantages” going into the downturn, with 80% of the group’s revenue coming from either long-term defensive markets or from products mostly unaffected by cyclical factors.
“In 2009, our priorities are going to be cash management, increased efforts in cost containment, and greater selectiveness in our investments,” CEO Benoit Potier said in a statement.
By segment, Gases and Services increased revenue by 10.3% from 2007 to €11.03bn, driven by strong growth in the Large Industries business.
The business’s revenue rose over 20% due to the ramp-up of Severstal in ?xml:namespace>
The Engineering and Construction segment’s sales grew by 30% to €1.08bn due to the consolidation of Lurgi, which was acquired in 2007.
Air Liquide’s shares rose after the announcement and at 08:54 GMT were up 3.5% up on Friday’s close at €62.28.
The group reported earnings per share of €4.7 in 2008, beating Citigroup’s forecast of €4.6.
($1 = €0.78)
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