After a week of positive quarterly financial results, the Linde Group publicised double-digit growth, and in doing so, confirmed the strength of the industrial gases sector as a whole.

Linde has reported profitable growth in the first half of 2011. Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG, commented, “We are well on our way. We’ve seen a strengthening of demand in both our gases business and our engineering business worldwide.”

“We will continue to benefit from the growth areas energy and health and from consistently dynamic trends in the emerging economies especially in Asia. We confirm our outlook and expect to achieve growth in Group sales and Group operating profit in the 2011 financial year compared with the prior year,” continued Reitzle.

Linde saw Group sales rise by 11% to €6.104bn. The firm's operating margin rose still further, to 23%, while Group operating profit increased 11.7% to €1.559bn - as compared with €1.396bn during the same period of the prior year.

Earnings before taxes on income (EBT) climbed to €792m, marking a 22.6% rise year-on-year. Similarly, on a fully adjusted basis, earnings per share stood at €3.79.

Interestingly, particularly in terms of the Gases Division, economic recovery varied depending upon region. During the first half of 2011, the highest growth rates occurred in emerging economies such as Asia, China and South America.

Outlook
Linde’s Engineering Division articulated positivity about forthcoming performance over the next two years thanks to a high order backlog. In a recent press statement the company confirmed that it expects to achieve same level of sales in its engineering business in the 2011 financial year as in 2010.

In light of the ‘positive trends’ obtained during the first half of the year, Linde expects an operating margin for the current financial year of at least 10%, while in the mid-term, Linde targets a continued operating margin of 8%.