Air Liquide bullish about growth despite revenue drop in first half

Sales stood at EUR10.27 billion in the first half of the year, from EUR10.95 billion in the same period last year.

  • By ICN Group | July 30, 2020

Air Liquide reported a 6.2% fall in first-half revenue and the sales stood at EUR10.27 billion in the first half of the year, from EUR10.95 billion in the same period last year.
The company generated EUR200 million in efficiencies during the first six months of the year in line with its aim to achieve more than EUR400 million in efficiencies in 2020.
Net profit improved by +1.8% and stood at EUR1,078 million. The cash flow to sales ratio was particularly high at 23.1% and stood at EUR23.71 million. 
"In a context of limited local lockdowns and progressive recovery during the second half of 2020, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to further increase its operating margin and to deliver net profit close to preceding year level, at constant exchange rates," said Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide.
Within Gas & Services, Electronics sales increased; Healthcare, at the frontline of the pandemic, posted strong growth. Large Industries showed resilience, whereas Industrial Merchant was more impacted. Geographically, business in China has returned to levels of solid growth, signs of a recovery are appearing in Europe, whereas the situation in the Americas remains contrasted.
Industrial investment decisions totaled 1.3 billion euros, stable compared with the 1st half of 2019, despite the challenging global health situation. Electronics reached a record level of investment during the 1st half, notably thanks to the signing of several new units in Asia. The 12-month portfolio of investment opportunities stood at 2.9 billion euros, stable compared to the end of 2019 and up compared to the 1st quarter of 2020.
The company confirmed the start-up dates of the main projects for 2020 and maintained its forecast for the additional contribution to 2020 sales of unit start-ups and ramp-ups of between 150 million and 180 million euros. 
Based on the health situation as of the beginning of the 3rd quarter, the Group’s best estimate regarding the additional contribution to sales for 2021 is in the range of 300 million euros, reflecting notably the postponement of certain start-ups and ramp-ups to 2021 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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