The Linde Group has felt the effects of the global economic crisis, but strategies it put in place are believed to have cushioned the blow.

The Executive Board of The Linde Group has presented the financial statements for Linde AG and the Group financial statements for the 2008 financial year.

The results showed that the group’s strategy of earnings-based growth has continued to be successful.

Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG said, “We have achieved our targets in full, although even we began to feel the effects of the global recession at the end of the year.”

He added, “Due to our focus on our worldwide gases and engineering business and our global orientation, we are better able to cushion the impact of unfavourable economic conditions than we were previously.”

On the basis of reported figures, meaning no adjustment for exchange rates, Linde increased group sales in the 2008 financial year by 2.9% to €12.663bn, compared to €12.306bn in the previous year, and group operating profit of €2.555bn was 5.4% higher than the figure for 2007.

After adjusting for exchange rates, these increase percentages stand at 8.4% and 10.3% respectively.

Earnings before tax (EBT) were €1.006bn, which was below the previous year; however, the company is keen to point out that in 2007 there was a profit on the disposal of businesses of €607mn, which was disclosed as a non-recurring item.

In the 2008 financial year, Linde made a book profit on the disposal of businesses of 59mn.
In 2007, earnings after tax was 996mn, in the 2008 financial year it was 776mn, €717mn of which was attributable to Linde AG shareholders.

After adjusting for profit on the disposal of businesses in 2007 and 2008, and the amotisation of fair value adjustments identified in the course of the purchase price allocation, Linde improved its earnings per share from €5.02 in 2007, to €5.46 in 2008.