Commenting on the first half of 2015, Beno?t Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air?Liquide, stated:
“In an uncertain global economic environment, Air?Liquide delivered sustained growth over the first half of 2015. It was driven by the strong performance of our Healthcare and Electronics businesses, by the developing economies, by a favourable currency impact, and by a quarter on quarter improvement in Large Industries.
We saw growth across all geographies over the period. In Europe, a gradual recovery is firming up in certain sectors, while North American industrial markets are affected by the slowdown in services related to oil exploration. Asia-Pacific continues to benefit from growth in China and the positive performance of Japan. Furthermore, the start-up of the Yanbu project in Saudi Arabia is accelerating growth in the Middle East and Africa and increases our global hydrogen production capacity by nearly 20%.
Air?Liquide’s operating performance over the period was solid, reflected in a high operating margin and another increase in net profit.
The investment decisions made over the period, which totalled 1.3?billion euros, the signing of new contracts and the commissioning of new units are paving the way for growth in the next few years. This is also the case for the innovations and technologies currently under development.
Assuming a comparable economic environment, Air?Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2015.”
Group revenue for the first half of 2015 was €?8,115?million, an increase of +8.1% on a reported basis and of +3.2% on a comparable basis1 compared with the first six months of 2014. The positive currency effect (+7.8%) was partly offset by the negative impact of energy prices (-2.9%).
Gas & Services sales, at €?7,340?million, were up +7.8% on a reported basis and +3.1% on a comparable basis in the first half of 2015. Compared with the first quarter, the second quarter of 2015 saw a sequential improvement in sales. Developing economies remain dynamic, with Gas & Services sales for the first six months of 2015 up +9.9% on a comparable basis.
In the first half of 2015, Gas & Services sales growth on a comparable basis was contrasted:
Engineering and Technology revenue rose by +10.5% compared with the first half of 2014 on a comparable basis, reflecting the progress made on projects underway for third-party customers. Total order intake reached €?600?million for the first half of 2015, an increase of +11.0% compared with the first six months of 2014.
The Group’s operating margin reached 17.4%. This strong performance was driven primarily by low energy prices and a good level of efficiency gains delivered by Air?Liquide, which amounted to €?132?million, in line with the annual target of achieving over €?250?million. Net profit (Group share) reached €?849?million, an increase of +12.5% on a reported basis (+5.2% excluding currency impact). Cash flow (before the changes in Working Capital Requirements) is up +13.0% versus the first six months of 2014 (+5.1% excluding currency impact). Net debt increased to €?7.9?billion; the net debt to equity ratio remains under control below 60%. Standard & Poor’s confirmed its A+?rating of Air?Liquide in June 2015. The return on capital employed (ROCE), after tax, was unchanged compared with year end 2014 at 10.8%.
1 Adjusted for currency, energy (natural gas and electricity) and significant M&A impacts??
The Air?Liquide Board of Directors met on July?29, 2015. During this meeting, the Board of Directors reviewed the consolidated financial statements for the six months ended June?30, 2015.
Limited review procedures were completed with respect to the consolidated interim financial statements, and an unqualified review report is in the process of being issued by the statutory auditors.