Air Liquide Third-Quarter Sales Miss Estimates as Europe Slows

Air Liquide SA, the world’s second-largest industrial gas company, reported third-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ estimates as Western European manufacturing demand slowed.

Sales rose 1 percent from a year earlier to 3.80 billion euros ($4.81 billion), the Paris-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of nine analysts was 3.85 billion euros. Adjusted for natural gas and currency impacts, sales rose 4.3 percent. It reiterated its forecast for profit growth in 2014.

“In a more contrasted economic environment, the third quarter was marked by good momentum in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, by vigorous revenue growth in developing economies of more than 15 percent on a comparable basis, and by another slowdown in Western European manufacturing” Chief Executive Officer Benoit Potier said in the statement.

Potier has been cutting jobs in France, Germany and Italy to adapt to economic woes in Europe, where he’s expanding in medical gases and healthcare as the population ages. He’s also adding plants in the U.S., China, Brazil and other emerging markets to tap demand for industrial gases in fields such as chemicals, refining, and electronics.

Third-quarter sales of gas and services rose 3.6 percent, excluding the effects of natural-gas prices, currency shifts and scope impacts. So-called efficiency gains reached 233 million euros in the first nine months of the year, Air Liquide said.

“Ahead of its annual efficiency objective, the group continues to adapt to market conditions to strengthen its competitiveness,” Potier said. “Barring a degradation of the environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2014”

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