For the 9 month period from January to 30th September 2007, the Linde Group has announced double-digit increases in sales and operating profit, continuing its positive performance from the first 6 months of the year and emphasising the success achieved in the reorganisation of the company.

Third quarter results indicate group sales rose by 18.6% to €3.07bn and operating profit experienced a rise of 20.7% to reach €612m, while on the 9 month basis group sales increased by 14.7% to reach €8.958bn and operating profit stood at €1.770bn, representing an increase of 16.7%.

Such dynamic growth is sure to be a welcome boost as the company maintains its medium-term objective of achieving operating earnings of over €3bn in the 2010 financial year.

Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG, commented, “More than a year after our acquisition of BOC, I am happy to say that our position is robust and weatherproof. The Group reorganisation has been successful and we are much stronger now as we approach the tasks ahead. At Group level, we are expecting to achieve sales of more than €12bn and operating profit of €2.3bn to €2.4bn.”

To ensure comparability of the Group's business performance, the prior year figures for sales and operating profit have been adjusted to take account of the new Group structure. The prior year figures include the remaining core activities of BOC, but exclude KION, the forklift business sold in 2006, the BOC Edwards components business and the other companies sold following the BOC acquisitions.

Earnings before taxes on income (EBT) rose significantly from €554m to €1.109bn. The figure was affected by two non-recurring items. On the one hand, EBT was reduced by impairment losses of €335m recognised in the course of the purchase price allocation of the BOC acquisition and on the other hand, the profit on the sale of parts of the business of €574m had a positive impact.

Earnings after tax at 30th September 2007 were €764m, significantly higher than the prior year figure of €451m.

All regions were successful in contributing to the positive business performance of the group’s Gases Division , which experienced a sales increase of 9.1% to reach €6.85bn and an operating profit increase of 12% to €1.707bn and represents an operating margin of 24.9%.
In terms of the Gases Division’s outlook, Linde is expecting to achieve average growth of around 7% per annum in the global gases industry over the coming years.