Air Liquide’s consolidated revenue reached €15.326bn for the financial year of 2012 – it was announced today (14th February).

In a contrasted global economic environment, Gas & Services showed solid growth up +6.5%. On a comparable basis, the developing economies, which now represent 23% of sales, achieved double digit growth (+11%) when advanced economies reached +1%. The fourth quarter showed an improvement in growth in all regions.

Highlights of the year included sustained growth in Large Industries notably from the increase in hydrogen demand for refining and chemicals in Asia and the United States, and by the progression of Healthcare driven by organic growth and acquisitions in Europe. Industrial Merchant activity is slightly up in a very competitive environment, while Electronics has seen signs of recovery in the fourth quarter.

Operating Income Recurring is up +6.3% at €2,560m. The operating margin, benefiting from efficiency gains of €284m, is stable at 16.7%. Net profit (Group share) is at €1,609m, up +4.9%. Cash flow(after change in Working Capital Requirements) is up +11.7%. Net debt stands at €6,103m, stable excluding acquisitions, leading to a gearing ratio of 58%. The proforma Return on capital employed is preserved at 11.9%.

Commenting on the 2012 results, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of theAir Liquide Group, stated, “In the context of the global economic slowdown in 2012, the Group’s performance is solid. Our extensive geographic presence, our initiatives in new markets and targeted acquisitions allow us to show further growth in activity and operating results.”

In 2012, the total amount of investment decisions rose to €2.9bn, the highest level since 2007. The increase in the Engineering & Construction order intake, the high level of our 12-month portfolio of investment opportunities and the scheduled commissioning of 50 plants in the next two years confirm customer confidence in the medium-term.

The group continues to strengthen its competitiveness and innovation to ensure profitable growth over the long-term, based upon a sustained investment program and upon efficiencies for which the 2011-2015 objective is increased by +30%to €1.3bn.

Barring a degradation of the environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2013.