Air Liquide 3Q Revenues Drop Slightly on Forex Effects

By Nathan Allen Features Dow Jones Newswires

France's Air Liquide SA (AI.FR) said Wednesday that its third-quarter revenue decreased slightly on the year, citing a foreign-exchange hit which offset positive currency effects in the first half.

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Revenue at the French industrial-gases producer was 4.94 billion euros ($5.81 billion), down 0.3% from EUR4.96 billion a year earlier.

The company is using restated sales--which take into account the divestitures of Aqua Lung and Air Liquide Welding--as its baseline for comparison. Prior to the restatement, Air Liquide reported its third-quarter 2016 revenue as EUR5.08 billion.

Sales at Air Liquide's main gas-and-services business rose 0.1% to EUR4.79 billion, driven largely by developing economies and the Asia-Pacific region, it said. China reported 15% revenue growth thanks to an increase in prices and volumes, while European sales grew by 4.2%, the company said.

Synergies from the acquisition of Airgas, which Air Liquide bought for $10 billion in 2016, came in ahead of schedule thanks to quicker project execution, the company said. Air Liquide now expects synergies of $195 million by the end of 2017 compared with an earlier forecast of $175 million.

Air Liquide said that lower demand in the U.S. due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma had a moderate negative effect on sales. However, it expects insurance to cover most of the impact on operating profit, while forthcoming reconstruction work should drive higher volumes in the coming months.

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"Assuming a comparable environment, Air Liquide is confident in its ability to deliver net profit growth in 2017," said Chief Executive Benoit Potier.

Write to Nathan Allen at nathan.allen@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 25, 2017 02:09 ET (06:09 GMT)