Linde Quarterly Earnings Miss Estimates as CEO Reitzle Departs

Linde AG (LIN), the world’s largest industrial gas supplier, reported first-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates as currency effects continued to stunt revenue growth.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 2.7 percent to 927 million euros ($1.3 billion), the Munich-based company said in a statement. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 945 million euros. Sales rose 1.5 percent to 4.05 billion euros.

“Economic growth is still anything but strong,” Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Reitzle, who retires this month, said in the statement. “Exchange rate effects also continued to have an adverse impact on our business performance.”

It was Reitzle’s last full quarter at the helm of a company he has spent a decade transforming from a diversified conglomerate into an industrial gases specialist. He became chairman of Holcim Ltd. April 29 and will be succeeded at Linde on May 20 by Wolfgang Buechele, who was previously CEO of Finnish paper-chemical maker Kemira Oyj.

Linde reiterated its 2016 targets of Ebitda of at least 5 billion euros and a reported return on capital employed of about 13 percent, excluding currency effects. The company expects a 10 percent return on capital this year on a “moderate” improvement in operating profit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Webb in Munich at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at Robert Valpuesta, Kim McLaughlin

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