AIR LIQUIDE announces good performance for 2005 resulting in net earnings of €933 milllion up 19% (+10.9% on a comparable basis with 2004), with a proposed dividen of €3.85 per share up 10%.

Net earnings in 2005 reached €933 million, up 19.7%. On a comparable basis and consistent with previous guidance, growth in Net earnings was +10.9% (€900 million in 2005 versus €812 in 2004). Net earnings per share (€8.66) rose by +19.8%.

Consolidates 2005 sales amounted to €10,435 million, an increase of 10.7%. Operating income recurring was €1,518, an increase of +10.4%. Margins continued to progress from 14.6% in 2004 to 14.8% in 2005, excluding natural gas effect.

Benoit Potier, Chairman of the Management Board said \\$quot;Air Liquide recorded another good performance in 2005. The Group has strengthened its position with the acquired Messer activities, now fully and successfully intergrated ahead of schedule. All of our activities and geographic markets are growing. We have also increased our penetration of high growth markets, such as homecare and hydrogen.

\\$quot;This performance, together with strong financial discipline, has enabled us to reduce debt levels significantly and to achieve an ROCE consistent with out target of 12%. The Management Board is therefore proposing a dividend of €3.85 per share.\\$quot;

Operating income in 2004 was €1,244m comparable to 2005 of €1,473 representing an increase of 20.3% (+19.7% excluding currency). Net earnings (Group share) 2004 was €780m comparable to 2005 of €933, an increase of 19.7% (+18.8% excluding currency).

Group results

Sales rose in all geographic markets and business lines, to reach 10,435 million euros, an increase of 10.7% for 2005. Growth was particulary robust in Large Industries (hydrogen), new territories (emerging Asia), and in Healthcare. Excluding currency and natural gas effect, growth was +8%, including a perimeter contribution of +1.8% notably from full year consolidation of activities from Messer. On a comparable basis, growth is +6.2%.