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November 3, 2009

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Linde net income drops while demand improves

GERMAN industrial gases company Linde AG yesterday reported third-quarter net income fell 5 percent as revenue dropped amid the economic downturn, but noted that demand was improving.

Linde, based in Munich, said its net income in the July-September period fell to 169 million euros (US$248 million) from 177 million euros in the third quarter of 2008.

Revenue for the period fell nearly 10 percent to 2.8 billion euros from 3.1 billion euros in the third quarter of 2008.

While Linde said signs of a recovery are emerging, it does not expect to match the net income of 717 million euros and revenue of almost 13 billion euros that it made in 2008.

Still, the company said it expects its financial performance to improve for the rest of the year, as third-quarter operating income rose nearly 13 percent compared with the second quarter.

"The positive trends we were seeing at the end of the second quarter have continued to strengthen," Wolfgang Reitzle, the chief executive, said in the company's report.

"The measures we have taken to achieve increases in productivity are having an even greater impact."

Linde produces gases, including hydrogen, oxygen and argon, for the medical, industrial and scientific fields. The company also engineers and builds gas processing plants to produce those gases.

Linde said its gases division recorded 2.3 billion euros in revenue for the quarter and an operating income of 625 million euros - compared with revenue of 2.4 billion euros and operating income of 625 million euros a year earlier.

For the first nine months of the year, Linde reported a near 9 percent decline in operating income to 1.7 billion euros while revenue fell 12 percent to 8.3 billion euros.


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