*Q3 2014/Q3 2013 change on a comparable basis: excluding currency, natural gas and significant M&A impacts
Commenting on the 3rd quarter 2014, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of the Air Liquide Group, stated:
“In a more contrasted economic environment, the 3rd quarter was marked by good momentum in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, by vigorous revenue growth in developing economies of more than +15% on a comparable basis, and by another slowdown in Western European manufacturing. Overall, the Group grew faster than its market, assessed on the basis of the weighted industrial production index.
The Group’s operating performance remains solid. Ahead of its annual efficiency objective, the Group continues to adapt to market conditions to strengthen its competitiveness. At the same time, it continues to invest and take growth initiatives, particularly in promising markets and in developing economies. Accordingly, the proportion of Gas & Services revenue for industry that is generated in developing economies today exceeds 30%.
In this context and barring a degradation of the environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver another year of net profit growth in 2014.”
Q3 2014 Group revenue reached € 3,801 million, up +4.3% on a comparable basis compared with Q3 2013, and up +1.0% on a reported basis. The unfavorable currency translation effect observed in the 1st half slowed this quarter (-1.1% at the Group level). Gas & Services sales, up +3.6% on a comparable basis, in line with the 2nd quarter trend, were stable (+0.1%) as published.
On a comparable basis, all Gas & Services business lines grew in Q3 2014:
- Large Industries, up +3.6%, benefited from start-ups and ramp-ups of new units and sustained demand for air gases and hydrogen in the developing economies of Asia-Pacific, China in particular.
- For Industrial Merchant, up +1.8%, the performance was contrasted depending on the region. Demand remains robust in North America, with in particular sales to oil services in Canada up this quarter. The Industrial Merchant business continues to grow at a rapid pace in the developing economies of Asia-Pacific. In Europe, sales showed improvement in Spain and in the United Kingdom, while other Western European countries were impacted by the slowdown in industrial production. In Eastern Europe, sales continue to grow.
- Electronics growth was a robust +11.7%, driven by higher sales of specialty gases in the United States and in Asia, as well as by the success of the ALOHA™ advanced precursor range in Taiwan, Japan, and the United States.
- Healthcare revenue, up +3.5%, progressed across all regions, boosted by increased need for home healthcare services, as well as by the development of the Group’s Healthcare activities in developing economies and higher hygiene sales.
Engineering and Technology revenue rose by +18.0% on a comparable basis, reflecting progress made on projects underway for third-party customers.
Efficiency gains, which on September 30, 2014 stood at € 233 million, contributed to the Group’s operating performance for the period.