Commenting on the results for 2019, Benoît Potier, Air Liquide Chairman and CEO, stated:
“2019 is a landmark year, characterized simultaneously by a significant improvement in performance, a high level of investments to serve our customers and strengthen our efficiency, and the operational implementation of our climate action plan.
2019 sales were driven by the development of Gas & Services and Global Markets & Technologies. On a comparable basis, all Gas & Services activities, which account for 96% of Group revenue, progressed over the year, with particularly dynamic Electronics and Healthcare. Geographically, every region grew, notably the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.
Overall, and despite the expected global economic slowdown observed in the 4th quarter, the Group delivered robust results, confirming the relevance of its economic model and strategy.
The improvement in the Group’s operating margin reflects the dynamic management of both pricing and product mix, the asset portfolio, and efficiencies. The latter reached 433 million euros. Cash flows were high and the debt to equity ratio declined substantially. The Group’s balance sheet is solid. ROCE continues to improve. 2019 performance is in line with all of the targets of the NEOS program and the Group’s Climate objectives.
In a context where industrial opportunities remain high, investment decisions rose sharply, to 3.7 billion euros. The new projects that have been signed with our clients in Large Industry and Electronics will allow us to further strengthen our position in our major industrial basins.
Assuming no major change in the environment and the international health situation is under control, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to further increase its operating margin and to deliver net profit growth in 2020, at constant exchange rates.”