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Linde's 2007 profit more than quadruples to euro996 million

Linde's 2007 profit more than quadruples to euro996 million

Linde AG, the world's biggest maker of industrial gases, said Thursday that its annual profit more than quadrupled, pushed higher because of its acquisition of Britain's BOC in 2006 and improved sales in Europe and Asia.
The Munich-based company also said it plans to raise its dividend to shareholders by 13 percent to euro1.70 (US$2.56) a share from euro1.50 (US$2.26) to euro1.70 (US$2.56) a share.
Linde earned euro996 million (US$1498.4 million) last year compared with euro219 million (US$329.5 million) in 2006, soundly beating the euro836 million (US$1.3 billion) that analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast.
Linde did not disclose its fourth-quarter results but will release its complete annual results on March 17.
The increase reflected the company's 8.5 billion British pound purchase of BOC Group PLC in 2006 because the results included all if its operations for the full year for the first time.
"The new group is solidly positioned and successful," Chief Executive Wolfgang Reitzle said in a statement. "In a short period of time, we have created an efficient global organization and exceeded all expectations for the 2007 financial year."
Linde's 2007 sales rose nearly 14 percent to euro12.3 billion (US$18.5 billion) from euro10.8 billion (US$16.3 billion), also beating analysts' expectations of euro12.1 billion (US$18.2 billion).
The company, which produces industrial and medical gases, and builds processing plants for the pharmaceutical, gas manufacturing and petrochemical industries, reiterated that it still expects gas sales to rise by 7 percent a year, with orders for hydrogen and oxygen leading the push.
Shares of Linde were up .08 percent to euro89.31 (US$134.36) in Frankfurt trading.
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On the Net:
http://www.linde.com