Linde's profits fall 25% in 2008, may fall further this year

16 March 2009 08:41  [Source: ICIS news]

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SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--German industrial gases and engineering company Linde Group has reported a 25% year-on-year decline in its 2008 net profits to €717m ($931.2m), in line with its profit guidance released earlier this month, as the economic downturn took a toll on its businesses, the company said on Monday .

The company was cautious in its earnings prospects for 2009 amid the bearish market conditions.

"It still looks possible from today's standpoint that group sales and earnings will be slightly higher than or at the same level as in 2008. However, we have to consider the possibility of a decline in sales and earnings," said Linde CEO Wolfgang Reitzle.

The company said its 2008 revenue rose 2.9% to €12.7bn compared with 2007, with operating profit rising 5.4% to €2.6bn, mostly driven by growth in its gases and engineering business.

Linde’s gas division booked total revenue of €9.5bn, up from a €9.2m in 2007 while its engineering segment recorded a 9.7% increase in revenues to €3bn.

“This really solid business performance, despite the onset of the financial and economic crisis, indicates that our group reorganisation has proved worthwhile," said Reitzle.

The company said it has proposed an increase in its dividend payout to €1.80 per share from €1.70 per share.

"However, even we are not immune to the global recession. To stay on track even in this difficult economic situation, we will accelerate the implementation of our integrated programme to achieve sustainable improvements in our processes and increase productivity," he added.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Terence Teo
+65 6780 4359



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