Despite the ongoing pandemic and strong inflationary pressures related to a global increase in energy prices, Air Liquide managed a strong overall performance throughout the year.

In its results released today (16th Feb), the company reported group revenue of €23.3bn in 2021, an increase of 8.2% compared with 2020. 

Its net profit amassed to €2.5bn, up 5.6% as published compared with 2020, 8.9% excluding the currency impact. 

Net earnings per share at €5.45 were up 5.5% compared with 2020, in line with the increase in net profit. 

“Air Liquide’s teams have stepped up in all areas, whether in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the significant acceleration in inflation or the energy transition challenge, once again demonstrating their strong reactivity and adaptability,” said Benoît Potier, Chairman, CEO, Air Liquide.

“Our investment momentum has been sustained, with the signature of numerous agreements in particular related to the energy transition.” 

Cash flow from operations remained high at 24.5% of sales, excluding the energy impact. 

Gross industrial capital expenditure amounted to €2.9bn compared with €2.6bn the prior year. This represented 12.5% in sales and 13.5% excluding the energy impact. 

Results by region 

Americas 

Gas & Services revenue totalled €8.4bn in 2021, up by 7.6% compared with the prior year. 

Large Industries sales increased by 5.2%, driven by high demand, and the start-up and ramp-up of new units. 

Due to a focus on continuing to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Healthcare sales were up 13.7%. 

Electronics posted solid revenue growth of 5.2%. 

Europe 

Revenue in Europe was up 7% on a comparable basis in 2021 to €8.3bn. 

Driven by strong customer activity in the Steel and Chemicals markets, as well as a gradual recovery in Refining, Large Industries sales saw an increase of 5.2%. 

Industrial Merchant activity grew strongly by 10.8%, benefiting from dynamic volumes in all markets and geographies. 

Healthcare posted revenue that was up by 4.7% on a comparable basis after an exceptionally strong growth of 9.7% in 2020. Although 4th quarter sales were below the 2020 record level, 2021 saw pandemic-related medical oxygen sales rise strongly. Home Healthcare activity and surgeries in hospitals benefitted the overall revenue. 

Asia-Pacific 

Revenue for the Asia-Pacific region rose by 6.4% on a comparable basis in 2021, totalling €4.8bn. 

Large Industries sales rose steadily by 2.9% after a strong 1st half of the year. Temporary measures of Dual Energy Control in China resulted in sales decreasing in the second half of the year. 

The Industrial Merchant business grew by 10.2% compared with 2020, fuelled by strong activity in China and the recovery across the rest of Asia. 

Electronics sales saw a significant contribution from Carrier Gases, resulting in an increase of 6.7% on a comparable basis. 

Middle East and Africa 

Revenue for 2021 reached €717m, up 12.7% on a comparable basis. 

Large Industries sales benefitted from strong hydrogen demand by customers in the Yanbu basin in Saudi Arabia. 

Air gases volumes rose sharply in South Africa, as 16 Sasol ASUs (acquisition of which was finalised in late June) were integrated. Sales totalled €70m in the second half of the year but were recognised as part of the significant scope effect, hence excluded from the comparable growth in 2021. 

Industrial Merchant revenue continued to grow and Healthcare saw strong growth especially over the first three quarters.