Paris, France-based Air Liquide reported its 2017 first quarter fiscal results on Wednesday, led by a major year-over-year sales increase, led by the group's 2016 acquisition of Airgas — No. 7 on Industrial Distribution's Big 50 List.
Air Liquide posted Q1 sales of $5.63 billion, up 38.5 percent year-over-year (+1.5 percent comparable). The vast majority of the increase was due to a 42.3 percent increase in its Gas & Services sales (+2.8 percent comparable) to $5.44 billion. The company's Engineering & Construction business sales of $57.3 million decreased 57.4 percent (-58.4 percent comparable), while Global Markets & Technologies sales of $77 million increased 18.8 percent (+19.2 percent comparable).
"The strong growth in sales this quarter reflects the group's new scale as a result of the acquisition of Airgas," said Air Liquide chairman and CEO Benoît Potier. "The increase in sales was also the result of a significant improvement in Industrial Merchant, the group's largest business line, the solid growth in Healthcare and to a lesser extent in Large Industries, as well as the strength of the Global Markets & Technologies business."
Air Liquide's Industrial Merchant unit — which accounted for 47 percent of its Gas & Services sales — posted a year-over-year sales increase of more than 90 percent (+2.6 percent comparable). The group noted that it was the unit's first comparable sales growth quarter since Q4 2014.
"In a more favorable economic context, the signs of improvement observed at the beginning of the year were confirmed during the first quarter," Potier said. "In fact, all geographies posted growth, notably North America with a recovery in its industrial production."