Industrial gases major The Linde Group has announced its financial performance for the 2014 financial year – with highlights including a 4.5% revenue increase totalling €17.047bn.

The company has continued to see positive trends in the 2014 financial year, achieving increases in both group operating profit and group revenue after adjusting for exchange rate effects. Operating cash flow exceeded the high figure achieved in 2013.

“Despite unfavourable conditions and adverse exchange rate effects, we have delivered a good performance in the past financial year,” said Dr Wolfgang Büchele, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. “We achieved growth in revenue and earnings, after adjusting for exchange rate effects, and once again an increase in operating cash flow. We are therefore in the gratifying position of being able to maintain our dividend policy which is geared towards continuity,” explained Büchele.

The Executive Board and Supervisory Board will propose a resolution at the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of €3.15 per share be paid. This is an increase of 5.0% compared with the prior-year dividend of €3.00.

“We are currently implementing a wide range of measures which will enable us to build on our strengths and to continue to enhance our long-term profitability. Our focus here is on our customers and on our core business. We have a clear view of our targets and are well on the way towards achieving them,” continued Büchele.

In the 2015 financial year, the group expects to generate revenue of between €18.2bn and €19.0bn, depending on economic trends and exchange rate movements. Linde anticipates that it will achieve an increase in group operating profit (after adjusting for non-recurring items) to between €4.1bn and €4.3bn.

All gases divisions saw an increase in performance and earnings when compared to the previous financial year.

Gases Division – Outlook

Recent economic forecasts indicate that the global gases market will grow at a slightly faster pace in 2015 than was the case in 2014. Linde remains committed to its original target in the gases business of outperforming the market and continuing to increase productivity.

In its on-site business, Linde has a healthy project pipeline which will make a contribution to revenue and earnings in the 2015 financial year and an even more significant contribution to revenue and earnings in subsequent years. The group is forecasting that its liquefied gases and cylinder gas product areas will perform in line with macroeconomic trends. In the Healthcare product area, stable business trends are expected.

Depending on sector-specific trends and exchange rate movements, Linde is seeking to achieve revenue in the Gases Division in the 2015 financial year of between €14.9bn and €15.4bn and operating profit of between €4.05bn and €4.25bn.

“The market environment will continue to be challenging for the foreseeable future, which makes it all the more important for us to pave the way now for profitable growth in the future. With the rigorous implementation of our global Customer Focus Initiative, we will change our structures and significantly accelerate our processes. To achieve this, we are working hard every day on streamlining our organisational procedures, optimising our portfolio and investing in profitable growth areas,” concluded Büchele.