Solid performance and major initiatives in 2015
Editorial with Benoît Potier,
Chairman and CEO
Your Group achieved a solid performance, delivering once again an increase in revenue, operating margin and net profit, in the context of slower global growth in 2015. Business growth was driven by momentum in Healthcare and Electronics, and by the contribution of new start-ups in Large Industries. It was also driven by Europe’s progressive recovery and by the developing economies. Operating margin rose, thanks to continuous efforts on cost. Net profit increased to €1.76 billion, thus allowing us to propose the payment of an increased dividend for 2016.
The signature of a merger agreement in November 2015 for the acquisition of Airgas in the USA was the major initiative of the past year for your Group. The industrial and market rationale of this initiative is very strong and offers significant growth prospects. Once the acquisition is finalized*, Air Liquide will have a stronger presence in the United States, the first industrial gas market in the world. We will benefit from the unrivalled regional coverage of Airgas in this country, as well as from its e-commerce platforms and telesales serving over a million customers. This acquisition will strengthen the global leadership of Air Liquide and will create value over the long term.
The new issue of your newsletter also puts the spotlight on innovation, such as, for example, the CryocapTM project, which is a world technology premiere. It also presents our solutions to protect the environment, and notably including actions taken by the Group as part of the COP21.
The 2016 annual General meeting and post-General Meetings are excellent opportunities for sharing views and for presenting you the strategy of your Group. I hope to see many of you there in May.
Thank you for your loyalty and happy reading!
*Following the approval process of the authorities.