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GER - Slowdown signs - Linde AG abandoned 2010 profit goal

Linde AG has abandoned a 2010 profit goal and said that it will accelerate a cost-cutting program amid the threat of slowing plant orders. Linde said that it put on hold until a later date next year’s target for operating profit of EUR 3 billion, along with an aim to achieve a return on capital employed of 13%. Mr Wolfgang Reitzle CEO of Linde said that he is budgeting for a slight increase in 2009 sales and earnings though a decline is still possible. A spreading recession will probably clip orders of large scale gas plants at Linde’s engineering division, where revenue will fall. Linde plans to strip away EUR 250 million in costs this year, part of a savings program introduced in 2008. Mr Martin Evans analyst at Cazenove said that "The outlook is mixed, but certainly less gloomy than some. Linde will increasingly face pressures as customer requirement for industrial gases weakens."

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