German industrial gases giant Linde reported strong performance in the second quarter, adding that preparations for a hoped-for massive merger with American rival Praxair were in ‘full swing’.
Munich-based Linde said net profits attributable to shareholders reached 429 million euros ($501 million) between April and June, up 43 percent year-on-year.
Operating, or underlying profit as measured by EBIT grew 31 percent, to 623 million euros, on the back of revenues up 1.0 percent at 4.5 billion euros.
Preferring to highlight turnover up 4.7 percent in currency-adjusted terms over the first six months, chief executive Aldo Belloni hailed ‘encouraging growth in revenue’ helping put the group ‘on the right track’ ahead of the Praxair merger.
Revenues and profits at the group’s flagship gases division sagged in the second quarter, but were more than made up for by growth at the engineering division, which builds ready-to-use industrial plants.
Looking to its proposed merger with Praxair, Linde said that ‘the merger control and regulatory processes are in full swing’.
Hoping to earn competition authorities’ favour for the tie-up, it said earlier this month it had agreed to sell off much of its business in the Americas for $3.3 billion if the deal goes ahead.
Meanwhile, Praxair has promised to offload European businesses worth $5.9 billion on the same terms.
The two groups hope to secure approval and complete the merger – worth around $65 billion – in the second half of the year.
Over the full year, Linde alone expects revenues up to 4.0 percent higher than the 17.1 billion euros achieved in 2017, while shooting for operating profit adjusted for currency effects up to 5.0 percent higher.