Linde plc reported first-quarter 2021 income from continuing operations of 979 million USD and diluted earnings per share of 1.86 USD, an increase of 74% versus prior year.
Excluding Linde AG purchase accounting impacts and other charges, adjusted income from continuing operations was 1,312 million USD, up 30% versus prior year and 8% sequentially. Adjusted earnings per share was 2.49 USD, 32% above prior year and 8% higher sequentially.
Linde’s sales for the first quarter were 7,243 million USD, 7% above prior year and flat sequentially. Compared to prior year, underlying sales increased 5%, including 2% price attainment and 3% higher volumes, led by healthcare, electronics and a recovery in the cyclical end markets of manufacturing, metals, chemicals and refining.
Sequentially, underlying sales increased 2% driven by higher volume and price. First-quarter operating profit was 1,213 million USD. Adjusted operating profit of 1,688 million USD was up 25% versus prior year led by higher price and continued productivity initiatives across all segments. Adjusted operating margin of 23.3% expanded 320 basis points versus prior year and 110 basis points sequentially. First-quarter operating cash flow of 2,109 million USD increased 57% versus prior year. After capital expenditures of 762 million USD, free cash flow was 1,347 million USD, up 148% versus prior year. During the quarter, the company returned 1,404 million USD to shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases, net of issuance.
- Sales 7.2 billion USD, up 7% versus prior-year quarter
- Operating profit 1.2 billion USD; adjusted operating profit 1.7 billion USD, up 25%
- Operating profit margin 16.7%; adjusted operating profit margin 23.3%, up 320 basis points
- EPS 1.86 USD; adjusted EPS 2.49 USD, up 32%
- Strong operating cash flow 2.1 billion USD, up 57%
- Increased full-year 2021 adjusted EPS guidance to 9.60 USD – 9.80 USD, represents 17% to 19% growth year-over-year
Commenting on the financial results and business outlook, Chief Executive Officer Steve Angel said, “Linde employees delivered another strong quarter of financial results with operating profit margins expanding over 320 basis points, ROC improving to 14.5% and operating cash flow increasing 57%. In addition, EPS grew 32%, reaching a new record high of 2.49 USD. The resiliency of our business model coupled with the ability to leverage any economic recovery has allowed Linde to continue delivering stellar results.”
Angel continued, “Looking ahead, I have confidence the company will continue to create significant shareholder value for years to come.”
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