Air Liquide secured a solid start to the 2015 fiscal year with group revenue increasing by 7% (€3.99bn) – of which gas and services was responsible for 6.3% (€3.6bn).
Commenting on the first quarter 2015, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, said, “Growth this quarter was driven by the dynamism of Healthcare and Electronics, and by developing economies, especially China where sales rose by nearly +20% on a comparable basis.”
“Industrial demand was moderate at the start of the year. In North America, the slowdown in the oil services industry, combined with temporary plant turnarounds of several customers, had a short-term impact on our Large Industries activities, while in Western Europe, the manufacturing sector continues to improve in several countries.”
“Globally, the group’s revenue growth outpaced that of its market, against a backdrop of falling energy prices and favorable exchange rates. Operational performance remains solid; the group continues to generate efficiency gains and is also reinforcing its growth initiatives.”
On a comparable basis, Gas & Services revenue in developing economies progressed by +9.4% while all Gas & Services business lines reported revenue growth in the first quarter of 2015.
Healthcare revenue, up significantly at +6.8%, benefited from increased demand for home healthcare services and from higher hygiene and specialty ingredient sales. Growth was also supported by several acquisitions in Europe and in Canada. The Healthcare business progressed in advanced and developing economies alike.
Growth in Electronics was a robust 14.4%, a progression in line with 2014 that attests to the sector’s positive momentum. Sales grew in all of our product lines. In advanced materials, which includes the ALOHATM range and the Voltaix offer, revenue grew by 49.0%. Sales were particularly vigorous in China, in Taiwan, in Japan, and in the United States.
Efficiency gains reached €62m, in line with the annual target of more than €250m. The initiatives, mainly in the area of procurement, logistics, and energy efficiency, combined with ongoing efforts to align group structures, contributed to the good operational performance.
“Growth in the next few years will be supported by the recent major new contract signings, the investment backlog of €2.6bn, and the innovations and technologies currently under development,” stated Potier, who added, “Assuming a comparable economic environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2015.”