Air Liquide’s Board of Directors, which met on July 27 reviewed the consolidated accounts at June 30, 2012. First half 2012 Group revenue was €7,533 million, up +5.9% on a reported basis versus first half 2011.

In Gas and Services, revenue reached €6,837 million, up +5.6% on a reported basis. On a comparable growth basis, the momentum in most developing economies (+10%), especially Central and Eastern Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East, compensates for the weaker level of activity reported in advanced economies (+1%).

North America, where industry is benefitting from low natural gas prices, shows a growth rate of +6%. Asia is still affected by lower Equipment and Installation sales to the Electronics sector versus 2011.

Operating Income Recurring is up +4.4% at €1,244 million. The operating margin adjusted for the effect of natural gas was 16.6%, helped by efficiency gains which reached €126 million in the 1st half, and by generally solid pricing in an environment which remains inflationary.

Net profit Group share stands at €790 million, up +5.3% versus 1st half 2011. Cash flow at €1,422 million shows a further increase of +6%. The portfolio of opportunities is still at a high level at more than €4 billion while investment decisions show a significant increase (+18%) compared to 1st half 2011.

Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of the Air Liquide Group, stated, “In the first half of 2012, activity levels reflect the caution of many of our customers around the world, in the context of an economic environment which is still affected by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and by further slackening of global growth.”

“Yet, the Group has delivered once again a solid performance which will be enhanced in the second half by a large number of plant start ups. Competitiveness and development initiatives defined in the ALMA program thus continue to bear fruit.”

“Medium term, growth initiatives as well as the seizing of acquisition opportunities demonstrate our Group’s ability to constantly adapt its actions in the pursuit of growth over the long term. Therefore the Group has decided € 1.2 billion in new investments during the first 6 months of 2012.”

“Finally, the exceptional level of the Engineering and Construction order intake and a 12-month portfolio of opportunities which is at its highest level strengthen our confidence in the long term. In this context, the Group has delivered a satisfying first half and barring a major economic downturn, Air Liquide continues to aim for growth in net profit in 2012.”

Key figures include; Revenue up 5.9%, Net Profit up 5.3%, Operating Margin up 16.6% (excluding natural gas effect), Cash Flow up 6%.

Highlights include new contracts in Mexico, start-up of new productions units in Russia and expansion in South Africa, acquisitions of LVLMedical and Gasmedi in process, signing of several contracts with next generation flat screen manufacturers, investments for chemicals (Germany and China) and in 10 hydrogen distribution stations for mobility (Germany) and investments up, particularly in the energy sector.