French Air Liquide has reported of consolidated sales of €10,4 million, up 10.7 per cent from the prior year.

On a comparable basis the increase was 6.2 per cent, with a perimeter effect of +1.8 per cent including notably the full year consolidation of the activities acquired from Messer.

In the fourth quarter 2005, consolidated sales were €2,827 million, an increase of 9.3 per cent. On a comparable basis, the increase was +7.1 per cent.

Air Liquide Benoît Potier, chairman of the management board, commented: \\$quot;Air Liquide saw a strong level of activity in 2005. The successful integration of the acquired Messer activities and our growth in large industries and healthcare strengthened our presence in the most advanced industrial economies.

\\$quot;2005 was also notable for the numerous positions we established in new territories, in Asia, Russia, and the Middle East, with gas and equipment sales.

\\$quot;In view of this strong performance, in line with our expectations, in all our geographies and in all our business lines, we maintain our target of double-digit net earnings growth for 2005, excluding any significant exceptional items.

\\$quot;In 2006, under presently anticipated market conditions, the expected contributions of our recent investments and our commercial successes make us confident in delivering sustained growth in our activities.\\$quot;

Gas and services

In 2005, sales for gas and service activities amounted to €9,148 million, an increase of 10.5 per cent and of 5.5 per cent on a comparable basis versus 2004.

For the fourth quarter 2005, gas and services sales reached €2,459 million, an increase of 8.4 per cent and of 6.1 per cent on the same base of comparison.

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Air Liquide