Linde Sees 2015 Profit Jump as CEO Hones Focus, Lifts Efficiency

Linde AG predicted the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases will return to profit growth this year as Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Buechele looks to efficiency measures to overcome “challenging markets.”

Profit will rise to 4.1 billion euros ($4.3 billion) to 4.3 billion euros from 2014’s 3.9 billion euros, the Munich-based company said today in a statement. Fourth-quarter profit of 1.02 billion euros was in line with analyst estimates.

“We are currently implementing a wide range of measures which will enable us to build on our strengths,” Buechele said in the statement. “The market environment will continue to be challenging for the foreseeable future.”

Buechele, who joined as CEO last year, reduced both full-year and 2016 profit goals in October as global economic growth failed to match the company’s expectations. Currency effects reduced operating profit by 83 million euros last year as full-year operating profit, which Linde defines as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortizaion, declined 1.2 percent from a year earlier.

The German supplier of oxygen and other gases to hospitals and welders proposed a 3.15 euro-per-share dividend. Revenue will reach 18.2 billion euros to 19 billion euros this year, up from 17.05 billion euros in 2014.

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