The supervisory board of Air Liquide, chaired by Alain Joly, met on 5 September 2005 and reviewed the financial statements for the first half of 2005 presented by Benoît Potier, chairman of the management board.

At 30 June 2005, Air Liquide, publishing its accounts under IFRS, recorded sales of 5,041 million euros (+12.4%), and net earnings of 436 million euros (+26.5% and +13.1% excluding restructuring charges taken in 2004 for acquired Messer activities).

Net earnings per share were 4.04 euros, in line with growth in net earnings.

Mr Potier, said: “Earnings growth achieved in the first half of 2005 confirms our ability to leverage our presence in the most dynamic large markets such as North America, to grow in the most promising sectors, such as healthcare, hydrogen and to develop our business in the rapidly expanding geographic zones, such as Asia. Excellent progress with the integration of acquired Messer activities has also contributed to this growth.

We delivered this performance in a contrasted global environment, characterised by sharp cost increases, particularly for raw materials and energy. We were able to totally offset these increases thanks to the results of commercial efforts, OPAL productivity and integration synergies from acquired Messer activities. These combined initiatives led to an improvement in margins.

In the second half, assuming a consistent economic environment, activity levels should continue to progress, probably at a lesser pace. Our new contract portfolio is strong, particularly in new territories spreading from Eastern Europe to China, and we expect new signatures in all geographic regions over the next 18 months.

Our first half results combined with the continued pursuit of growth in our operations and productivity initiatives enable us, excluding significant exceptional items, to increase our 2005 target growth in net earnings to reach double digit.”