Technology and industrial gases company The Linde Group has recorded growth in sales and operating profit for the first six months of 2007, with operating profit up by 14.7 percent and total earnings for the full year expected to exceed those of last year.

Continuing its positive trend from the first quarter, Linde confirms its previous forecast for the full year and has set itself a medium-term target of achieving a Group operating profit of more than €3bn for the 2010 financial year.

Professor Dr Woflgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG, commented, $quot;Our dynamic business performance goes from strength to strength. The message we can take from the half-year figures is clear. We have created an efficient organisation with a new group structure, which means that we are extremely well-placed to take full advantage of the opportunities for growth in the international industrial gases and plant construction industries.$quot;

Sales for the group rose 12.7 percent to €5.888bn, while the 14.7 percent increase in operating profit equates to a total of €1.158bn. Ensuring compatibility of the group's business performance, the new company structure referred to has been taken into account and the prior year figures for sales and operating profit have been adjusted.

The prior year figures include the remaining core activities of BOC, while forklift truck division KION, sold in 2006, the BOC Edwards components business and other companies sold as a result of the BOC deal have been eliminated from the figures.