Performance and anticipation
Editorial with Benoît Potier,
Chairman and CEO
In an environment that has seen the industrial production index improve in all the world’s major regions, your Group achieved a solid performance in the 1st half of 2017, with further growth in revenue and net profit. The Gas & Services business has benefited in particular from the confirmed recovery of Industrial Merchant, which today accounts for around half of our revenue. Every geographic zones generated growth in the 1st half of the year, most notably China, which reported double-digit sales growth in Industrial Merchant and Electronics. We have chosen to present in this issue our activities in this country, whose we support the industrial development and the transition from “producing more” to “producing better”.
With Airgas now fully integrated and generating to this day the synergies we initially anticipated, Air Liquide is focused on executing its NEOS mid-term strategic plan, based on customer-centric open innovation.
Your Letter reviews the latest start-up investments made by ALIAD, the Air Liquide Group’s venture capital arm. Already 30 investments have been made in 5 years.
Your Group, which has a long-term vision, commits to develop new markets that will fuel its future growth. Hydrogen as an energy carrier is one such promising market. Hydrogen can be used to store excess renewable energies, optimize energy systems and generate clean electricity in vehicles. The industry is becoming more organized at a global level and the dynamic is intensifying with the rising influence of the Hydrogen Council, which now federates 27 global companies and strives to make hydrogen a key solution for the energy transition. Your Letter gives an update on this subject and I will be pleased to meet some of you at the Actionaria fair in Paris, where you will be able to visit an exhibition on hydrogen energy.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate how important individual and long-term shareholdings are to your Group, because without them we would not be able to develop as we have done. Furthermore, in line with our tradition of sharing our performance, we recently distributed free shares to all of our shareholders on October 4.
Thank you for your commitment and happy reading to all!