Air Liquide said that its first-quarter revenue fell by 3.2%, citing the appreciation of the euro against the U.S. dollar. Commenting on the first quarter of 2018, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, said: “For the first three months of this year, revenue growth was very solid on a comparable basis. It accelerated compared with the previous quarters in a more favorable economic environment. The activity level in terms of new customers’ projects was also higher. All of our activities leveraged on this environment. The growth of Large Industries, driven by stronger demand in Europe and the start-ups and ramp-ups of new production units, is of particular note, as is the sustained growth of Industrial Merchant. This quarter was also marked by improvement in Engineering & Construction and the ever-dynamic development of Global Markets & Technologies. In addition, all geographies were up, especially Asia, with double-digit sales growth in China.”
The Group continues to generate recurring operational efficiency gains and new synergies related to the integration of Airgas. Cash flow remains high, allowing for further targeted investments. In the first quarter, our investment decisions amounted to nearly 600 million euros and will contribute to the future growth of the Group.
Accordingly, assuming a comparable environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver net profit growth in 2018, calculated at constant exchange rate and excluding 2017 exceptionals, he added.