Emerging markets help Air Liquide beat forecasts

INDUSTRIAL gases maker Air Liquide has posted a better-than-expected 12.4 per cent rise in its first-quarter profit thanks to buoyant growth in developing economies and kept its forecast for net profit growth this year.

The French industrial gases maker said yesterday that the number of contracts signed in the quarter continued at a strong pace and that investments and agreed investments, including contracts in the pipeline, reached nearly €500m (£444m).

Sales, excluding the effects from natural gas, used to produce hydrogen, and currency swings, grew a greater than expected 8.8 per cent to €3.543bn.

Gas and services sales, which take up the bulk of the business, rose 15.4 per cent to €3.185bn – its highest level ever.

Air Liquide makes gases like oxygen for the steel sector, argon for welding, nitrogen for chip makers or hydrogen for refineries.