In the first six months of 2012, positive business trends have continued at the technology company, The Linde Group. Group revenue and Group operating profit both increased during the period.

“We have seen a solid performance in the first half of 2012,” said Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. “Our global footprint and well-balanced spread across different sectors enable us to compensate for faltering demand in some markets or the weakness of certain currencies.”

CEO Reitzle believes that the Group is also well-equipped for the future, “We confirm our outlook and expect that we will achieve increases in Group revenue and Group operating profit in the full year 2012 when compared with the previous year.”

As Linde proceeds with its intended acquisition of the US homecare company Lincare Inc., it has revised its mid-term targets: “If we are able to complete the transaction as planned, we expect to generate Group operating profit of at least €4 bn in the 2013 financial year - one year earlier than previously announced,” explained Reitzle.

However, Linde expects to achieve its 14% target for ROCE (return on capital employed) in the 2015 financial year, one year later than forecast. 

In the first half of 2012, Group revenue rose by 5.9% to €7.174 bn, compared with €6.774 bn for the first six months of 2011. After adjusting for exchange rate effects, the increase in revenue was 2.3%. Linde has continued with the rigorous implementation of its HPO (High Performance Organisation) programme, a holistic concept for sustainable process optimisation and productivity gains, increasing group operating profit by 6.2% to €1.655 bn (2011: €1.559 bn).

The group-operating margin rose slightly as a result, to 23.1% (2011: 23.0%).Profit for the period increased in the first half of 2012 by 5.5% to €631 m (2011: € 598m). Profit attributable to Linde AG shareholders was €591m (2011: €566m).

This gives earnings per share of €3.45 (2011: €3.32). On an adjusted basis, i.e. after adjusting for the effects of the purchase price allocation from the BOC acquisition, earnings per share stood at €3.91 (2011: €3.79).

Linde remains committed to its original target for the gases business of growing at a faster pace than the market and continuing to increase productivity. In the on-site business, Linde has a healthy project pipeline, which will continue to make a substantial contribution to revenue and earnings trends for the rest of the 2012 financial year and especially in subsequent years.

The group expects its liquefied gases and cylinder gas business to perform in line with macroeconomic trends. In the Healthcare product area, Linde is anticipating continuing steady growth. Significant increases in revenue and earnings will be generated here by Linde’s intended acquisition of the US homecare company Lincare and its purchase of Air Products’ Continental European homecare business.

Linde continues to expect that revenue generated by the Gases Division in the 2012 financial year will exceed revenue generated in 2011 and that operating profit will improve.