The Linde Group saw relatively steady trends in the first quarter of the 2009 financial year against the background of a significant weakening in the global economy. After adjusting for exchange rate effects, there was a single digit decline in sales and earnings.
Dr Wolfgang Reitzle CEO of Linde AG said that "We are still comparatively stable, despite the fact that also we are being affected by substantial falls in demand. There is currently no evidence to suggest a swift recovery. It is therefore our responsibility as entrepreneurs to do everything we can to survive this difficult economic phase relatively unscathed. We will accelerate the implementation of our integrated program for sustainable process optimization and increased productivity. In certain areas and regions this is combined with capacity adjustments, for example through process and organizational improvements such as an overall consolidation of functions. The cost of these measures in the first quarter was EUR 20 million. We will continue to adopt a prudent approach and will apply an additional amount of around EUR 50 million to sustainable efficiency improvements in the coming months."
He said that Linde is continuing to examine various scenarios in its corporate planning for the rest of the 2009 financial year against the background of the uncertainty attached to future global economic development. He added that "Sales and earnings trends can not be determined before the second half of the year. Seen from today's standpoint, we need to anticipate a decline. Our positive scenario, Group sales and earnings on the same level as in 2008 has become less likely in the light of the further deterioration of the economic outlook."