Benoît Potier, Chairman e CEO di Air Liquide, ha così commentato i risultati del primo semestre 2019: “This first half of the year combined sustained sales growth and a significant improvement in the operating margin. The Group’s sales totaled nearly 11 billion euros, driven by dynamic sales in Gas & Services as well as in Global Markets & Technologies. Gas & Services revenue, which accounts for 96% of the Group’s total revenue, grew by close to +8% and by approximately +5% on a comparable basis (a). All Gas & Services activities progressed, with very strong performances in Electronics and Healthcare, in line with previous quarters. In a more contrasted market environment, sales grew in every region of the world, with a good dynamic in Europe and growth that remains sustained in Asia-Pacific, specifically in China.
The Group’s operating margin improved significantly, increasing by +70 bps. This good performance results from a combination of three kinds of actions: a pricing policy reflective of higher costs, dynamic portfolio management, and a substantial reinforcement of efficiency programs. Stepping up sharply in the 2nd quarter, these programs have resulted in efficiencies totaling 197 million euros for the six months just ended, in line with our target of more than 400 million euros per year. Recurring net profit (b) rose by +12 %, cash flow by +14.8%. The balance sheet remains strong, with the net debt (c) to equity ratio lower than on June 30, 2018. Recurring ROCE (d) increased to reach 8.3%.
The investment decisions of the first half, which include the acquisition of Tech Air in the United States, came to 1.8 billion euros, an increase of +22% compared with the 1st half of 2018. Industrial investment backlog reached 2.2 billion euros and will contribute to the Group’s future growth. Assuming a comparable environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver net profit growth in 2019, at constant exchange rates.”
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