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Air Liquide First-Quarter Sales Rises 6.7%, Led by China, U.S.

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Air Liquide SA, the world’s biggest producer of industrial gases, reported first-quarter sales that met analysts’ estimates, led by growing demand in North America and developing economies such as China.

Revenue climbed 6.7 percent to 3.78 billion euros ($5 billion), the Paris-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts was 3.77 billion euros. Like-for-like sales of gas and services rose 4 percent in the quarter.

“This first quarter is characterized by a progressive rebound in activity, particularly in the month of March,” Chief Executive Officer Benoit Potier said in the statement. “Barring a major economic downturn, Air Liquide continues to aim for growth in net profit in 2012”

Potier predicted in 2010 that sales may rise 8 percent to 10 percent on average from 2011 through 2015 on demand for oxygen, hydrogen and other gases used by the oil-and-gas industry, steelmakers and in health care from China, Russia, the Middle East and other fast-growing regions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at fdebeaupuy@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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