“Linde maintains its course towards earnings-based growth.”

The Linde Group achieved a 6.9% increase in sales to €2,124 billion in the first three months of the year compared to €1.986 billion in the same quarter of 2004. For 2005, sales outside Germany increased 8.7% to €1,691 billion whilst sales within Germany only showed a slight increase of 0.7% to €433 million. Incoming orders were reported as €2,353 billion compared with €2,174 in 2004, an 8.2% increase.

Linde Group Earnings for the first three months of the year also continued to show improvements. EBITA rose 13% to €165 million and EBT increased by 25% to €165 million. Net Income of €85 million was 9% higher than the figure in Q1 2004 of $78 million.

The first quarter 2005 results by division:

The Linde Gas division saw sales increase by 7.8% to €1,038 billion. EBITA rose 10.1% to €164 million. A significant proportion of this rise is attributed to the on-site business, where sales rose 18.1% to €231 million compared to the same quarter the previous year.

The Healthcare segment, which supplies medical and pharmaceutical gases, continued to grow with an 11.1% rise in sales to €170 million. This is largely due to the consolidation of acquired related businesses in 2004.

In the Linde Engineering segment, sales showed an increase of 23.1% to €357 million. Incoming orders in Linde Engineering of €465 million exceeded the high level achieved in the previous year by 12.3%. EBITA also improved significantly from €5 million to €16 million.

The Material Handling division achieved a 3.6% increase in sales to €771 million. EBITA had an 8.7% rise to €25 million and incoming orders rose 5.4% to €854 million. The market saw a variety of trends where demand in Europe fell in March, whereas markets in Eastern Europe, North America and Asia saw double-digit growth rates.

Commenting on the first quarter results Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, President of the Executive Board of Linde AG said, “We have had a good start to the year. We are maintaining a course towards earnings-based growth and are therefore developing programs which will continue to improve efficiency in Linde Gas and Material Handling”.