Air Liquide Quarterly Sales Rise 7.8% on Europe, Asia

  • CEO Potier Reiterates Net Profit Growth Target for 2015
  • Company Says It's Facing High Costs to Complete Canada Project

Air Liquide SA’s third-quarter revenue rose on demand for electronics and health-care services as the world’s second-largest industrial gas company said some European sectors like chemicals and pharmaceuticals are recovering.

Revenue climbed 7.8 percent from a year earlier to 4.1 billion euros ($4.5 billion), according to a statement Tuesday from the Paris-based company. That was in line with Bloomberg analyst estimates. Adjusted for energy costs and currency changes, sales rose 4.6 percent.

“The operating performance is solid and the group continues to improve its competitiveness and invest in promising markets.,” Chief Executive Officer Benoit Potier said in the statement.

Air Liquide reiterated a target for net profit growth in 2015 assuming a “comparable” economic environment while saying that it’s “experiencing high completion costs on a large project” in Canada. Negotiations with the customer “are ongoing since late summer, and should be completed by year-end 2015,” the company said.

Air Liquide shares were down 5 cents at 116.35 euros at 9:12 a.m. in Paris.

The French group has been adding plants in North America, Asia and the Middle-East to process gases used in the chemicals, refining, and electronics industries, while also expanding in medical gases and health care services in Europe.

“In North America, the slowdown in sectors linked to oil and gas production continues,” the company said. “Asia-Pacific is benefiting from Japan’s positive performance and satisfactory growth in China, where economic activity has become more moderate.”

Investment decisions, a gauge of future revenue growth, totaled 1.7 billion euros in the first nine months of the year, up from 1.3 billion a year earlier, while the investment backlog dropped by 800 million euros to 2 billion euros at the end of September as the company started large hydrogen production units in Saudi Arabia and Germany. 

Third-quarter sales of gas and services rose 4.5 percent, excluding the effects of natural-gas prices and currency. So-called efficiency gains reached 204 million euros in the first nine months of the year, Air Liquide said.

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