The acquisition of engineering firm Lurgi appears to have strengthened the accelerating growth of Air Liquide, as the company announced a 10.3% rise in third-quarter 2007 revenue of €2.94m.
Over the 3 months currency impact remains negative at -2.4% while natural gas price impact was not significant and on a comparable basis, excluding these effects and the impact of the acquisition of Lurgi revenue growth was still buoyant at a rise of 7.4%.
In the third quarter results, Gas and Services sales reached €2.485m growing at 7.9% on a comparable basis and the company’s highest growth rate since the beginning of 2004. This acceleration follows the 6.3% progression in the second quarter and 5.3% growth in the first quarter.
Benoit Potier, chairman and CEO of the Air Liquide Group, said positively, “This good third quarter confirms the relevance of our growth model. We are fully benefiting from positive momentum in our markets in Europe as well as in Asia, with a strong acceleration in our Electronics and Healthcare businesses. We continue to find attractive, targeted acquisitions on a regular basis, to supplement our internal development strategy.”
“Finally, our €10bn investment program over 2007-2011, announced in July, is progressing according to plan. All these elements give us confidence in Air Liquide’s capacity to deliver solid and sustainable growth. For 2007, we confirm our goal to reach double-digit growth in net profit.”
The recurring operating margin continues to improve in Gas and Services thanks to the productivity and efficiency programmes and at group level the operating margin is expected to remain stable, given the important weighting of engineering activities.