The Linde Group's accounts for Q1 2007 show significant increases in sales and operating profit and confirms the groups short-term and medium-term forecasts.

$quot;We have successfully completed the reorganisation of the Group and in the new set-up we made a dynamic start to the 2007 financial year$quot; declared Professor Wolfgang Reitzle, chief executive officer of Linde AG. $quot;We are growing at a faster rate than the market and are well on the way to meeting our short-term and medium-term targets in full.$quot;

The Linde Group confirms its previous forecast for the full year 2007: Group sales and earnings are once again expected to exceed prior year figures. Linde has set itself a medium-term target of achieving a Group operating profit for the 2010 financial year of more than €3bn. The synergies arising from the BOC acquisition should have a positive impact here.

Group sales in the three months ending 31 March 2007 rose 9.4 percent to €2.9bn ($3.9bn). The Linde Group also continued to grow its earnings. Operating profit (EBITDA*) in the first quarter rose to €569 m ($774m). This represents an increase of 10.1 percent.

Looking at the performance of the gases division alone sales increased by 7.8 percent in the first three months of the current financial year to €2.3bn ($3.1bn). Without taking account of the effects of exchange rate movements, changes in the price of natural gas and changes in the companies included in the consolidation, the global gases business of The Linde Group grew 4.5 percent. The business trends in all the regions were positive, and especially in the emerging markets the Gases Division was able to achieve disproportionate increases in sales.

Building on this strong performance Linde anticipates market growth in the international gases industry of around 7 percent per annum in the next few years. The gases division of Linde expects to grow at a faster rate than the market in the medium term and to achieve a disproportionate increase in earnings.