In the first half of 2014, the technology company The Linde Group generated virtually the same amount of revenue as in the first half of 2013.
Group operating profit was not quite as high as in the prior-year period. “We have proved our stability, although reported growth was again hampered by unfavourable exchange rate effects,” said Dr. Wolfgang Büchele, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG.
Linde believes that it is still on track for the full year 2014 and confirms its previous outlook. “In the current financial year, we expect to achieve solid growth in revenue and a moderate improvement in Group operating profit - after adjusting for exchange rate effects,” continued CEO Büchele.
In the first half of 2014, Linde generated group revenue of €8.212bn (2013: €8.207bn). As in previous quarters, fluctuations in exchange rates had a significant adverse impact on growth trends. After adjusting for exchange rate effects (which equate to revenue of €428m), the increase in revenue in the first half of 2014 was 5.6%.
Group operating profit in Linde for the six months to 30 June 2014 was €1.896bn, not quite as high as the figure for the first six months of 2013 of €1.966bn. Adverse currency fluctuations also need to be considered here. The effect of these distortions was to reduce earnings by €101m.
Without the distortions, the group would have achieved a 1.7% increase in group operating profit. The group operating margin for the first half of 2014 was 23.1% (2013: 24.0%). It should be noted here that, as expected, the Engineering Division contributed significantly more to group revenue in the reporting period than was the case in the first half of 2013. Linde’s engineering business has a lower margin than its gases operations.
The group generated earnings before tax (EBT) in the first half of 2014 of €894m (2013: €911m). Profit for the period was €680m (2013: €715m). Profit for the period attributable to Linde AG shareholders was €624m (2013: €660m). This gives earnings per share of €3.36 (2013: €3.56).
Reflecting on the gases division and providing an outlook, the company stated that “recent economic forecasts indicate that the global gases market will grow at a slightly faster pace in 2014 than was the case in 2013. Linde remains committed to its original target in the gases business of outperforming the market and continuing to increase productivity.”