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Linde Profit Misses Estimates as Buechele Gets to Grips With Gas

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July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Linde AG, the world’s largest industrial gas company, reported profit that missed analysts’ estimates, weighed down by a weakened U.S. market that’s been a focus for Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Buechele in his first two months in the role.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 4.3 percent to 969 million euros ($1.3 billion) in the second quarter, the Munich-based company said in a statement. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 974 million euros. Revenue declined 1.3 percent to 4.2 billion euros, hurt by currency costs and lower prices for health-care gases in North America as contracts were re-tendered.

Buechele, who inherited the leadership from Wolfgang Reitzle May 20, has included trips to the U.S. and Australia in his itinerary, two markets where growth has eased. Linde has earmarked energy and health-care markets as target sectors to drive Ebitda to 5 billion euros in 2016, with a return on capital employed of about 13 percent, excluding currency effects.

“We have proved our stability, although reported growth was again hampered by unfavorable exchange rate effects,” Buechele, the former CEO of Kemira Oyj, said in the statement.

The company also reiterated its goals of “solid” growth in full-year revenue and a “moderate” improvement in operating profit, which it defines as earnings before interest and taxes adjusted for amortization of intangible assets and depreciation of tangible assets.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Webb in Munich at awebb25@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net Andrew Noel, Robert Valpuesta

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