Group operating profit fell slightly to €3.92bn (£2.8bn), down from €3.97bn in 2013. However, the firm said it would have gone up one per cent had it not been unfavourably impacted by exchange rate effects.
Adverse forex movements also affected group sales, which increased by 2.4 per cent to €17.05bn in 2014, up from €16.7bn in 2013. But these would have reportedly gone up 4.5 per cent.
“Despite unfavourable conditions and adverse exchange rate effects, we have delivered a good performance in the past financial year,” said Dr Wolfgang Buchele, chief executive officer of Linde.
“We achieved growth in revenue and earnings, after adjusting for exchange rate effects, and once again an increase in operating cash flow. We are therefore in the gratifying position of being able to maintain our dividend policy which is geared towards continuity.”
The group proposed raising its dividend at its annual general meeting to €3.15 per share, compared with the previous year’s €3.
In the 2015 financial year, the German industrial gas expects to generate group revenue of between €18.2bn and €19bn, depending on economic trends and exchange rate movements, and an increase in operating profit of between €4.1bn and €4.3bn.
Earnings per share at the firm fell to €5.94 in the 2014 financial year, down from €7.10 in 2013, as figures were once again adversely affected by non-recurring items in the second half of 2014.