Air Liquide reports a strong increase in sales and net profit throughout the consolidated period of 2010.

The French firm has released encouraging 2010 fiscal results. Indeed, consolidated revenues amounted to EUR 13,488m, while net profit increased on the prior year by +14.1% and operating margin reached 16.7%, reflecting +40 basis points compared to 2009.

At the same time, net debt sits at EUR 5,039m, having fallen by EUR 183m. The firm was also keen to point out progressive recovery in Gas & Services, which increased +10.3% on a comparable basis, accelerated quarter-by-quarter in all regions, especially in the Developing economies (+29% on a comparable basis).

Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of the Air Liquide Group attributed the company’s results to widespread sustained growth. He commented, “2010 highlights include the return to more sustained growth in all of our businesses and geographies, and stronger overall performance. The Group has expanded its positions in Developing economies, which represent 19% of Gas & Services sales for the year. This performance, together with our ongoing efficiency programs, led to further improvement in operating results and a strengthened balance sheet.”

“The recovery of the long-term investment cycle, as demonstrated by the signing of new contracts in all of our businesses, has led us to double the amount of our investment decisions compared to 2009, reaching EUR 2.2bn. The new momentum is already established, spurred by the ALMA 2015 program, and supported by our five growth drivers (Energy, Environment, Developing economies, Health, High-Tech). This momentum will allow us to seize many growth opportunities and accelerate our long-term development.

“In this context and assuming normal economic conditions, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to continue to generate steady growth of net profit in 2011,” concluded Potier.

According to Air Liquide, particular highlights of the year were the strong growth in Large industries, with a record number of start-ups and ramp-ups of new units; sustained performance in industrial merchant; confirmation of a rebound in Electronics; and solidity in Healthcare.