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Air Liquide sees stronger 2022 as higher pricing tackles inflation

Stock Markets Feb 16, 2022 07:06
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Air Liquide is seen at the company's headquarters in Paris, France, April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

By Olivier Cherfan and Kate Entringer

(Reuters) -French industrial gases company Air Liquide (PA:AIRP) forecast on Wednesday a bigger profit for 2022, as it implements higher pricing to offset the sharp increase in energy prices.

The company, which supplies gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen to factories and hospitals, anticipates further improving its operating margin this year and reported a better-than-expected rise in core profit.

"Faced with a sharp and sustained rise in energy prices, the Group has demonstrated both the strength of its business model (...) and its ability to rapidly adapt its pricing for Industrial Merchant customers," Chief Executive Officer Benoit Potier said in a statement.

Air Liquide posted a 12.7% jump in full-year recurring operating income, on a comparable basis, at 4.16 billion euros ($4.72 billion), above analysts' 4.09 billion euros forecast.

Natural gas prices rose strongly last year, thanks to increased demand particularly from Asia due to a post-pandemic recovery, low gas inventories and tighter-than-usual gas supplies from Russia.

Europe's chemicals index climbed about 22% in 2021, while Air Liquide rose nearly 14.2%.

Gas and services activities, which represent 95% of the group's sales, reached 22.27 billion euros, above analysts' 22.12 billion euros forecast.

The company's full-year sales surged to 23.34 billion euros, up 8.2% from a year before on a comparable basis, beating analysts' 23.13 billion euros forecast.

($1 = 0.8808 euros)

Air Liquide sees stronger 2022 as higher pricing tackles inflation
 

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