February 28, 2008 07:30 ET

2007 financial year: Double-digit growth for The Linde Group with earnings increasing faster than sales

MUNICH, GERMANY--(Marketwire - February 28, 2008) -

- Sales up 13.9 percent to 12.306 billion euro
- Operating profit* up 18.1 percent to 2.424 billion euro
- Proposed increase in dividend von from 1.50 euro to 1.70 euro per

Munich, 28 February 2008 - Today, the Executive Board of the technology group "The Linde Group" presented the financial statements for Linde AG and The Linde Group for the 2007 financial year and recommended them to the Supervisory Board for approval. The Supervisory Board meeting to approve the financial statements will be held on 11 March 2008.

The key figures for The Linde Group in the 2007 financial year, which have already been audited, demonstrate that in the first year following the acquisition of its British competitor BOC, Linde has substantially strengthened its operating business. "The new group is solidly positioned and successful", said Professor Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, the Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. "In a short period of time, we have created an efficient global organisation and exceeded all expectations for the 2007 financial year."

To ensure the comparability of the group's business performance, the prior year figures for sales and operating profit have been adjusted to reflect the new group structure. The prior year figures therefore include the activities of BOC for the full twelve-month period, while excluding KION (the forklift division sold in 2006), the BOC Edwards components business and other companies and other assets sold in the course of the BOC transaction.

On this basis, Group sales increased by 13.9 percent to 12.306 billion euro (2006: 10.803 billion euro). Group operating profit rose to 2.424 billion euro (2006: 2.053 billion euro), which represents an increase of 18.1 percent.

Earnings before taxes (EBT) rose from 363 million euro to 1.375 billion euro. A number of non-recurring items following the acquisition of BOC should be taken into account here. On the one hand, EBT was positively affected by the book profit of 607 million euro on the sale of parts of the business mainly due to antitrust requirements, while on the other hand it was reduced by the additional amortisation of 446 million euro relating to the purchase price allocation. Earnings after taxes from continuing operations showed a corresponding increase from 219 million euro to 996 million euro.

After adjusting for the non-recurring items, earnings per share (EPS) was 5.02 euro (2006: 4.66 euro). Linde's objective was to achieve higher earnings per share with its new Group structure than with the previous one. This objective has been met one year earlier than planned.

The Executive Board of Linde AG recommends to the Supervisory Board that it proposes a resolution at the Shareholders' Meeting on 3 June 2008 to increase the dividend from 1.50 euro to 1.70 euro per share.

Linde will present detailed information about the 2007 financial year, the performance of the divisions and the short-term and medium-term prospects of the Group at the press conference on the annual results on 17 March 2008 in Munich.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with more than 50,000 employees working in around 100 countries worldwide. Following the acquisition of The BOC Group plc, the company has gases and engineering sales of approximately 12 billion euro per annum. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. For more information, see The Linde Group website at

For additional information:

Press                        Investor Relations
Uwe Wolfinger                Thomas Eisenlohr
Telephone: +49.89.35757-1320 Telephone: +49.89.35757-1330

* Operating profit: EBITDA before non-recurring items, including share of net income from associates and joint ventures.

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