The technology group The Linde Group was able to limit the decline in its sales and earnings and make a significant improvement in its productivity despite the global economic crisis. „We therefore have every reason to look to the future with confidence,“ said Professor Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG, at the presentation of the annual results. „Given current economic forecasts and seen from today’s viewpoint, we expect Group sales and operating profit in the 2010 financial year to exceed the 2009 figures.“
In the 2009 financial year, Group sales were EUR 11.211 bn, 11.5 % down on the prior-year figure of EUR 12.663 bn. Group operating profit, however, declined at a slower rate. Linde achieved Group operating profit of EUR 2.385 bn, only 6.7 % below the prior-year figure. Group operating margin rose as a result to 21.3 % (2008: 20.2 %). Linde was able to benefit significantly from the positive impact of its High Performance Organisation (HPO) programme which is designed to achieve sustainable process optimisation and efficiency improvements.
Linde achieved earnings before taxes on income (EBT) of EUR 838 m, EUR 168 m below the prior-year figure of EUR 1.006 bn. After adjusting for restructuring costs of EUR 83 m and the profit on disposal of businesses of EUR 59 m achieved in 2008, the decline was only EUR 26 m or 2.7 %. Earnings after tax were EUR 653 m (2008: EUR 776 m). The amount attributable to Linde AG shareholders was EUR 591 m, giving earnings per share of EUR 3.51.